No soldier can go far without the proper shoes. Even with all his other weapons, a barefoot soldier would soon become immobilized by the rough terrain taking its toll on his feet. In Bible times, the breaking of a soldier's shoe was a metaphor for weakness or defeat (see Isaiah 5:27), signifying that a soldier's effectiveness was largely dependent upon his shoes.
A Roman soldier's caligae
, or sandals, were constructed of leather and laced up the center of the foot and onto the ankle. At first glance, this kind of footwear might not appear to have afforded much protection, but the design was quite functional. The openness of the sandals enabled the soldier to wear them all day in his work, in marching, in fighting, and in standing for long periods of time — without getting blisters. The thick soles of the sandals were studded through with iron hobnails. These provided good traction and also came in handy when trampling the enemy.
Ephesians 6:15 describes a Christian's spiritual shoes as the "preparation of the gospel of peace."
There are several aspects to this illustration.
First, each of us needs to be at peace with God.
This is the firm foundation
beneath our feet. Someone once said, "No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace."
This statement echoes the words of Isaiah: "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 'There is no peace,' saith my God, 'to the wicked'"
(Isaiah 57:20-21). We are at enmity with God until we come into a right relationship with Him on His terms (see Colossians 1:21). "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Second, we need to stand fast in the peace of God.
This involves casting our care and anxiety on Him (see I Peter 5:7) and yielding to His perfect will (see Matthew 11:28-30). "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful"
(Colossians 3:15). The peace of God
will become a reality to us as we abide in Christ
. Then, as the peace of God rules in our own lives, we will be prepared to share
His peace with others. God has "reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation"
(II Corinthians 5:18; also see Galatians 5:1).
Third, we are called to go and preach the Gospel of peace to the nations. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, 'Thy God reigneth'!"
(Isaiah 52:7). Romans 10:15 reiterates Isaiah 52:7: "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
When Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach, He instructed them to bless a household they were bidded to enter by saying, "Peace be to this house" (Luke 10:5). However, He also instructed His disciples to "shake off the dust" from their feet and let their peace return to them when people did not receive them (Luke 9:5-6). Why? Because those who reject the Gospel of peace
are rejecting God's salvation
A fourth and final aspect of the "shoes of peace" is to always be prepared.
Paul told Timothy to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season"
(II Timothy 4:2). In the army of God, there are times of rest and refreshment, but there is never
a time for complacency. Christians who let their guard down and get comfortable during a temporary cease-fire will not be ready when their enemy comes in for the kill. After Jesus was tempted by the devil, the devil left Him "for a season"
(Luke 4:13). But no doubt, the devil would be back (see Mark 8:33; John 13:2).
By shodding our feet with the "preparation of the gospel of peace," we proclaim that the Prince of Peace
is victorious over the powers of darkness. Romans 16:20 says, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."
Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace I
leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"
(John 14:27). The dictionary defines the word peace
as freedom from strife, conflict, anxiety, and chaos.
The Hebrew word shalom
, and it involves completeness, soundness, tranquility, and safety.
The world says "peace, peace," but true peace only comes through Jesus Christ. "These things I have spoken unto
Jesus said, "that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I
have overcome the world"
(John 16:33). These last days will cause men's hearts to fail them for fear of all that is coming upon the earth (see Luke 21:26). But "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 4:7). No matter what happens, we can be confident that our God is ultimately in control and that He has the last word.
Meanwhile, we are to "follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another"
(Romans 14:19). As much as it depends on us, God's Word says, we are to "live peaceably with all men"
(Romans 12:18) — especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ (see Psalm 133:1; Galatians 6:10).