Feet Shod With The Preparation Of The Gospel Of Peace
'You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes,' so said a well-known fashion designer. His motives were sales and image, but for the Christian, this is biblical truth.
This month we come to the third instruction concerning the command to put on the whole armour of God. Adding to the need for the support of a belt, and the protection of a breastplate, the apostle now turns to the feet. 'Stand' he says, 'having already shod yourself with the gospel of peace' (my translation). I want to notice two specific details.
The Order of the list
Shoes are the final item of clothing we would normally put on, but the apostle Paul doesn't leave them to last. Instead, he promotes them to third, ahead of the shield and the sword–which is understandable–but ahead of the helmet. The significance might be small, but it reminds us of the necessity of a soldier to be ready to fight. A soldier was not much use without shoes on his feet. He would be vulnerable and immobile, without the ability to run or react quickly. In short, he would be inadequately dressed for the task at hand. So says Paul, you are not ready to stand like a soldier until you have 'shod yourself.'
The Style of the Shoe
Most are particular about the style of their shoe. Someone once told me that they thought you could tell a lot about someone by their choice of footwear. I can't say that I have done much research, but being shod and ready for action with 'gospel of peace' shoes, will speak volumes about your character. A quick check of our footwear might be in order? Many wear 'career shoes;' others wear 'entertainment shoes;' some wear 'education shoes.' In truth, it is easy for any of us to take off our gospel shoes and replace them with shoddy alternatives. 'Buy cheap, buy twice' a friend once said to me about his choice of shoes.
But what does it mean to have shoes readied with the gospel of peace? The apostle seems to be quoting from Isaiah 52:7: "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." In Romans 10:15 he applies the same reference to those who are sent in the public preaching of the gospel. But the application might be wider than that.
It might mean that we are always ready to pass on a word in the gospel to a friend at work or school. It might mean that we are willing to support the gospel activities of the assembly. It might mean we answer the call to foreign fields of service. It might mean we show kindness to a neighbour in need. In truth, it might be anything that furthers the purposes of God in salvation. For Paul it was simple; "as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome" (Rom. 1:15).
Take up the challenge of the armour of God: put on your gospel shoes!