Our Walking Shoes

For those of us who have been an active part of Christian settings (Church, Bible study groups, Christian ministries, colleges and seminaries, and other types of Christian groups), the topic of spiritual warfare, and specifically, The Armor of God,” is well known. It was the Apostle Paul who described that armor found in Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV):

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

GotQuestions.org provides the following description on the subject of spiritual warfare:

There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis. Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Others completely ignore the spiritual realm and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers. The key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the biblical balance. Jesus sometimes cast demons out of people; other times He healed people with no mention of the demonic. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and warns us to oppose the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Ephesians 6:10–12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

Ephesians 6:13–18 is a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit [emphasis mine]. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to know the truth, believe the truth, and speak the truth. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we face. We are not to waver in our faith, trusting God’s promises no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. And we are to pray in the power and will of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is our ultimate example of resisting temptation in spiritual warfare. Observe how Jesus handled direct attacks from Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). Each temptation was combatted with the words “it is written.” The Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

A word of caution concerning spiritual warfare is in order. The name of Jesus is not a magic incantation that causes demons to flee from before us. The seven sons of Sceva are an example of what can happen when people presume an authority they have not been given (Acts 19:13–16). Even Michael the archangel did not rebuke Satan in his own power but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9). When we start talking to the devil, we run the risk of being led astray as Eve was (Genesis 3:1–7). Our focus should be on God, not demons; we speak to Him, not them.

In summary, what are the keys to success in spiritual warfare? We rely on God’s power, not our own. We put on the whole armor of God. We draw on the power of Scripture—the Word of God is the Spirit’s sword. We pray in perseverance and holiness, making our appeal to God. We stand firm (Ephesians 6:13–14); we submit to God; we resist the devil’s work (James 4:7), knowing that the Lord of hosts is our protector. “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:2). (Quote source here.)

For this blog post, the topic will focus on verse 15 (in bold print below) found in Ephesians 6:14-15 (NIV) which states:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

GotQuestions.org describes what is meant by “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” as follows:

Ephesians 6:11–17 instructs believers in Christ to “put on the whole armor of God as a defense against Satan’s attacks. This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Verse 15 says, “And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The New Living Translation words it this way: “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gave to those who trust in Him (John 14:27Romans 10:15). It comes with the assurance from God that we are His children and nothing can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:291 John 5:13). It outlines clearly what is required to become a child of God (1 Corinthians 15:1–6John 1:12Romans 10:8–10). Any other message is a false gospel.

The word “readiness” implies constant vigilance. A victorious soldier had to be prepared for battle. He had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came. A soldier’s battle shoes were studded with nails or spikes, like cleats, to help him keep his balance in combat. He knew that, if he lost his footing and went down, it wouldn’t matter how great the rest of his armor was; the enemy had him. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan. Second Timothy 4:2 says to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”

The “peace shoes” that God supplies His soldiers have two purposes: defensive and offensive. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be (1 John 5:14). We must understand grace without abusing it (Romans 6:1–6), remember that our position in Christ is not based on our own abilities or worthiness (Titus 3:5), and keep our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness securely fastened (2 Timothy 1:12).

When Satan attacks with a flaming missile of doubt, such as “If God really loved you, He wouldn’t have let this happen,” we dig our peace shoes into the turf of God’s Word and reply, “It is written: All things work together for the good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). When Satan stabs from behind with “Remember what you did?” we dig in more deeply and reply, “It is written: If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others. First Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. God knows that, when we are active in speaking of Him to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory, but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge. When we have “studied to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are ready to stand firm in the gospel of peace no matter what the enemy brings against us (2 Thessalonians 2:15). (Quote source here.)

In an article published on January 3, 2020, titled, How Do I Put on the Gospel of Peace as Spiritual Armor?” by Hope Bolinger, a multi-published novelist and contributor on Crosswalk.com, she writes:

Like the belt of truth, this piece of the armor (feet fitted with readiness) may feel more superfluous than others. Shouldn’t a Roman soldier be more concerned about other elements of his armor like the breastplate or sword, rather than footwear?

However, as discussed in our armor of God articles on Crosswalk, Paul included each of the pieces of the armor of God intentionally. 

If we walk onto the battlefield without any of these elements of armor, we risk fatal blows from the enemy himself, rendered to us. 

Shoes stand at no exception. 

Readers should take note that historically, Roman battle shoes, otherwise known as caligae or calcei, had spikes or textured soles. Not only would the comfortable, breathable structure allow the soldiers to march several miles without pain, but these spikes would help them stand their ground and stamp on the fallen enemy. 

Especially when a Roman army advanced, enemies would be trampled by the puncture wounds from several soldiers marching together.

Not to mention, these spiked soles would help them navigate better over rough terrain, unlike other footwear of the time. The enemy couldn’t seclude themselves in a rough patch of land when facing the Roman army. The soldiers would advance with minimal pain rendered to their feet.  

Paul doesn’t use this historical information haphazardly. He understands the importance of peace in the life of a Christian soldier, and how much we need the shoes as well as the other elements of the armor, such as the sword or shield…. (Quote source and complete article available at this link.)

She quotes Ephesians 6:10-18 at this point in her article (which is quoted at the beginning of this blog post), and then she continues with the following:

Like Roman footwear, these shoes protect us on the spiritual battlefield. A barefoot soldier will likely encounter debris or rough patches of ground, which will throw his fighting off course. 

So, what can throw off our peace of mind? Or throw off our peace about our circumstances? The answer is: any of the devil’s schemes. The devil, during any day, can hurl debris like family feuds, job insecurity, friendship betrayals, or any other rocky situation at us in a way that can sabotage our strength.

Peace helps us to stay grounded, and simultaneously stand our ground. 

But wait? Why does Paul call this the shoes of the Gospel of peace? Does that mean there are other Gospels? Like the Gospel of Love? Gospel of Faith? 

Or, is he saying we should pay attention to one Gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?

What Paul actually means here by ‘Gospel’ is ‘Good News.’ We are to fit our feet with the good news of peace [emphasis mine].

In other words, we are to advance onto the battlefield unafraid, because we carry with us the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. No matter what debris the enemy throws as us, amidst the war and chaos, we know God has everything under control and that his plan cannot be thwarted by the devil…. (Quote source and complete article available at this link.)

The last part of her article includes a section on How Do We Use the Shoes of the Gospel of Peacewhich includes the following subsections: “We are to Walk in these Shoes a Great Distance”; We are to Advance without Hesitation”; and “We Are to Walk Together”. And she finishes her article with three short sections titled: “What Does Jesus Say About Peace?”; “Where Else Can We Find Imagery of Shoes or Peace in the Bible?”; and the last section titled, A Prayer for Feet Fitted with the Readiness of the Gospel of Peace” (all of which can be read at this link).

I’ll end this post with the words found in Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) which states–You [God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds…

Are steadfast . . .

Because they trust . . .

In You . . . .

YouTube Video: “Peace Be Still” by Hope Darst:

Photo #1 credit here
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