THE SHOES OF PEACE
In the battle that Satan is waging against God's people it is important to stand firm. In Ephesians 6: 11-17 the apostle Paul draws an analogy between the Christian's need of spiritual protection and the protective armour and weaponry of a Roman soldier. One of the items he lists is special footware - Ephesians 6:15 "And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace."
In Paul's day, the Roman soldier wore sandals that were firmly fixed to his feet by leather thongs. On the soles of these sandals were hobnails to give the soldier a firm footing on the ground. This is the image painted by the Greek word translated "preparation" in verse 15. It means a firm footing, a strong foundation. A soldier knows that if he is having trouble with his feet, he cannot fight well, likewise, Christians need the firm footing that comes from standing on the Gospel of peace in order to keep their balance as they fight Satan.
What exactly is the Gospel that Paul was referring too? In 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 Paul defined it for us: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand. By which also you are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures~ and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve." Paul then went on to list the various resurrection appearances of our Lord in verses. 6-8.
What does God give us when we wear the shoes of peace?
First, He gives us stability. Many Christians in the world are unstable. Paul was refering to these unstable people when he wrote: "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:14).
Instability is a serious problem that can hinder, or destroy our Christian life. For this reason, the Bible contains many warnings about being unstable. In Hebrews 13:9 we read "Be not carried
about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established (stable) with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
The Gospel is the foundation of life, just as the feet support the entire weight of the body.
Secondly, the shoes of peace gives us balance. The shoes of the Gospel of peace not only give us stability but also give us balance. A soldier doesn't wear just one shoe in battle. To do so would throw off his balance and cause him to limp when he walked. Satan loves unbalanced Christians. In order to be balanced and be able to walk as Christians, we need a through understanding of scripture. When our faith is resting firmly on all the truths of the Gospel, we will have balance. This balance is vital if we are going to hold our ground against Satan.
Thirdly, the shoes of peace gives us mobility. The shoes of the Gospel give us not only the stability and balance we need to stand our spiritual ground in battle but also the mobility we need to fight. Even the best-equipped and best-protected soldier will likely be killed if stands in one place for too long. He needs to be able to move so he can attack and can respond to the moves of the enemy. The Roman soldier's hobnailed sandals were designed for mobility as well as for strength and protection. They were light enough that he could move and turn quickly. He was able to adjust and shift his position readily. They were comfortable so his feet didn't become tired. Shoes were designed for walking and running. We wear the shoes of the Gospel, not just to stand our ground but to have the firm footing and mobility we need to respond to the tactics of the Enemy.
Fourthly, the shoes of peace give us opportunity. When we take our stand on the Gospel of peace, God not only give us stability, balance and mobility, but He also gives us opportunity for ministry. No soldier goes to war without knowing what he's fighting for. Likewise, as believers, we need to keep our goal in mind. Our goal in the battle is not merely to stand our ground and fight. We must also move forward to spread the Gospel.
The feet that wear the shoes of peace are beatiful because they carruy the message of peace. (Isaiah 52:7) "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace." The apostle Paul quoted this verse in Romans 10:14-15.
Are we wearing the shoes of peace? Do we exhibit a readiness to share the Gospel. God will give us the opportunity; it's our responsibility to be ready. The kind of soldier who will be victorious on the battlefield is the one who is stable and balance, who has good mobility and who uses every opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel. If we are wearing the shoes of peace on our feet, we will be this kind of soldier.