“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.“
This short passage in Ephesians 6 is the well known and often preached passage on spiritual warfare and the armor of God. I have heard many different takes on what spiritual warfare entails and what this set of scriptures is talking about. I still don’t understand it fully but what I do know is that the majority of everyday spiritual warfare is not battling demonic possession, casting demons out and the like. The majority of the battle is demon oppression fought in the mind.
Doubts, worries, concerns, desires, mislead passions, guilt, unbelief. All of these and more wage war against our souls; against the truth. But Ephesians 6:15 urges us to put on readiness of the gospel of peace as shoes.
In this passage I see three things that are key to understanding what is meant. Shoes, readiness and the gospel of peace.
Shoes protect our feet which is what we use move, to strive forward and stand tall. They give us something to stand on and walk in.
Readiness is self explanatory. Since we are talking about feet I think that this is the readiness to move. To take action.
But to understand what readiness really means we need to understand what the Gospel of Peace is. The gospel is God’s message to His people that the enmity that was once between us and Him is now gone through the power of Christ’s blood. His wrath which was ready to be poured out has been absorbed by Christ and no in place of enmity is peace; an open relationship.
Paul here is not telling us to put on the gospel as our shoes. He is telling us to put on readiness. The readiness to move with the gospel. To go where the gospel is going.
The readiness given by the gospel which says that our righteousness has been given to us through Christ not our own merit. And with that readiness our sense of self, our self esteem, our identity is no longer found in ourselves. And with that truth imbedded in our hearts the lies thrown at us hold no water and we are ready to move on when struck.
The Armor of God is presented as a defensive armor. The only offensive weapon is the word and the word IS the gospel of peace.
It has been said that the best defense is a good offense. And I think that that principle holds true here. As we live out the gospel, as we spread out the message, its truth becomes imbedded deep within our souls and we are continually ready to move. Never being hindered by the enemies fiery darts of doubt, despair, guilt or depression.
On the flip side, another weapon that the devil uses are our own proclivities and desires. Pride, selfishness, self-glorification, greed. The gospel of peace deals with these too. A good understanding of the gospel reveals our own depravity and need of a savior. It breaks down pride by taking away all of our power to make ourselves righteous and gives it to Christ. All of our action become filthy rags when compared to His righteousness.
This is way harder than it sounds. To live out the gospel and really believe it 24/7 is tough. Mentally I can understand it, but often when I look at my actions they don’t match up to my beliefs. I let other people’s view of me determine my self worth. I find myself trying to do my best not for God’s glory or to love on people but so that people will see what I’ve done. I know better. I believe in the gospel of peace but my actions don;’t always reflect it. Paul fell into this cycle of doing what he didn’t really want to do. But He knew God’s grace well. And that is truly the gospel of peace. God’s grace allows us; even urges to get back up and pursue Him once more. If it truly is all for His glory then it would do no good to stay down.
Help me to live what I know to be true. I love you.
In Jesus’ name, amen.