Summary: To be fully equipped as spiritual soldiers we need to be willing to share the Gospel with others. We do not undertake this task in our own strength but in the strength of Jesus who has all things under His feet and who also equips our feet.
Sandals of Peace
Congregation of the Lord,
We are called to be ready to stand against the schemes of Satan. One of Satan’s biggest evil schemes is to do everything he can to make sure that believers do as little of sharing the Gospel as possible. Why does he focus on this?
• If the Gospel is not shared, not-yet-believers will not come to faith.
• If the Gospel is not shared, the overall ministry of the church becomes distracted.
• If the Gospel is not shared, enthusiasm for the important work of God diminishes.
Which is why this piece of armour is so important. It is a call to stand firm “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace”. When it comes to our spiritual shoes one size fits all. We cannot be those who are fully equipped unless we have the Gospel. We will lack ministry focus unless we are willing to help people find peace with God. Paul is inviting us to let God’s Word fit us with feet of readiness. Do we have what it takes?
As we seek to answer this question there are a few issues we need to address. The first is to recognise that we will not be able to pass on the Gospel of peace until we have first experienced real peace with God. There is a time in our relationship with God when we were considered to be God’s enemies. There was a time when we were wondering around living our own life and ignoring the kingship of God. There was a times when our relationship with God was broken - and there was no peace.
For us to have an eternity of hope a process needed to take place. Theologically that process is called “reconciliation”. In practical terms reconciliation is what happens when Jesus Christ comes into our lives and breaks down all the barriers which stop us from having a real relationship with God. Romans 5:1-2 summarises the situation very nicely.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”.
Jesus has been at work to bring into our lives a process which gives us peace. It is a process that leads to joy in our Christian walk.
What does all this have to do with having our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace? It means we need to make sure that guilt is not used to pressure people into wearing these pieces of spiritual equipment. No one should take on kingdom work and be involved in the battle because they have been forced. Or because they have been made to feel guilty. Or because they are categorised as “unsaved” if they don’t participate.
• The spark that drives you to action should only be the spark of understanding God’s grace in your life.
• The driving force of your service to God is the fact that you have seen the Gospel of peace working in your own life.
We cannot share the excitement of the Gospel with others until we have first felt the excitement of it in our own lives. Kingdom work is the fruit of your love and acceptance of a Saviour who took your punishment
Before we can have our feet ready for the spiritual battle we need to honestly evaluate our own lives by asking, “How much impact does this Gospel of peace have on us?”. And let’s make sure we understand the nature of this question.
• It is not asking, “Do you believe in Jesus?”.
• It is not asking, “Are you saved?”.
• It is not even asking, “Are you a member of a church?”.
The question here is one of cause and effect. In God’s eyes I was ugly and full of sin. But God cared enough to shake me to my senses and open my eyes to see – to see for the first time – the futility of directing my hate against my Creator. That’s the gospel of peace. That is the cause of our salvation. And when we realise just how much God has done to make us into His special children it will be natural for our lives to be radically different.
As you think your relationship with God, how much impact does this Gospel of peace have in your life? Despite our rebellion God is not angrily and barbarously seeking revenge. Despite our shortcomings God never stood by smugly saying, "I told you so". Despite our protests God did what was necessary to bring peace between Him and you.