What do shoes and peace have in common? Not much on the surface. Yet Paul tells Christians in Ephesians 6 to wear “shoes of peace” as part of our spiritual armor. (Ephesian 6:15)
When it comes to armor in general, the term “peace” doesn’t usually spring to mind. After all, armor is generally worn during times of war – not times of peace. So why would Paul tell us to wear peace when facing the enemy in warfare?
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As Christians, we have two main objectives:
- Spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth
- Grow in our faith and become more like Christ
The enemy wants us to fail at both of these objectives, so we need to be prepared for battle. He does far more than simply tempt us with sin. His main goal is to see us fail miserably.
When it comes to spreading the Gospel, he will cause disunity and conflict. He will destroy our reputations and make us look bad. He will do all he can to make us look like hypocrites and liars – all to make the Good News sound like rubbish to a world who desperately needs it.
In his attempt to destroy our faith, he will usually work from within. He will lie to us, and these lies will make us feel useless and frail. They will cause us to question our faith or God’s love for us. When we feel weak and vulnerable, we are more apt to fall into sin – which in turn makes us feel even more weak and vulnerable. It’s a vicious cycle that he would love to put into motion in our lives.
So why would Paul tell us to wear shoes of peace when we’re in the midst of a spiritual war?
Shoes are worn for two main purposes:
- Having a firm foundation (sure-footedness)
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14-15 (NLT)
Keep in mind that we are called to wear shoes of peace. We don’t clobber people with the truth of God’s Word. We come in peace. And remember how the enemy will try and keep us from our objective? He will not only cause conflict between us and the world, he will also use our disunity within the church to destroy our reputation and make us look like hypocrites. This is one reason why Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:3 to make every effort to be united as believers. We are presenting a Gospel that brings peace to the world.
It’s impossible to spread peace in a non-peaceful way.
The other reason to wear shoes of peace is to help us stand firm. True peace comes from Christ alone. (John 14:27) As believers, not only can we experience the peace of God – we can stand firm in it.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
On the surface, shoes may not seem like an important piece of armor. But these shoes are different. Our peace comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ…
…We are called to walk in this peace as well as stand firm in it.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.