Last Tuesday, in "The Armour of God, Part 2", we saw that the breastplate of righteousness refers to Jesus' righteousness, that pure and perfect righteousness that is ours at the moment of salvation. All we have to do to put on this righteousness is accept the Truth that God sees us as perfect and does not condemn us. Not only will this serve to protect us from any fatal wounds the devil may be trying to inflect, but it will also ensure that we can stand before a Holy God, leave our current concerns at His feet and learn His will!

This brings us to the next piece of armour we are told to don: "Stand firm therefore...by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace..." (Eph. 6:14a,15 NET)

When I was a toddler, my grandmother was in charge of the nursery program at her church. I recall that one of the little songs she would sing to the children was called "Gospel Shoes". Though I don't remember any of the words, to this day I can see us all marching around the room in time to the music, carrying little pairs of paper shoes. I've come to know that those "gospel shoes" in my grandmother's song were the same ones referred to by Paul as part of the armour of God. Nonetheless, I still have to ask myself just what is meant by these "gospel shoes"…

Since the "gospel shoes" are mentioned as "armour", and since shoes would be considered an important part of a warrior's dress, we can find some clues as to what is meant by "gospel shoes" by looking at the role of shoes to the warrior of Paul's day…

A brief snapshot of military footwear in the 1st century comes to us from an archeological find at the Hippos-Sussita archaeological site east of the Sea of Galilee. A perfectly-preserved pair of footprints, set in mortar, were found in a Roman bastion. Given their location, they are believed to have been left by a 1st century roman soldier. The prints clearly show the hobnail-type cleats on the soles of the shoes, and the meaning is clear: Not only was this footwear meant to provide protection for the wearer's feet, but it was also specially designed so that the feet of its wearer would be secure against slippage!

Therefore, when Paul tells us to stand firm by "fitting your feet...", he is suggesting a piece of clothing that will ensure that we don't slip and fall. He is encouraging us to put on something that will enable us to "stand firm", that will ensure that we are, to quote Paul's words, "fully prepared" (Eph 6:15b)!

A closer look at the verse in Eph. 6:15 shows that this footwear that I've always heard called "gospel shoes" is actually not the gospel itself, but rather: "... the preparation that comes from the good news of peace... " (NET)

What is this "preparation"?

Some translations call it "readiness"; however, when you look at how the Greek word has been translated in other contexts, it is clear that a better translation would be "foundation" or "base", as it is used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) in
Ezra 3:3. In other words, this support for our feet that will keep us from slipping, that will help us to "stand firm", is achieved simply by allowing the gospel of peace to be our foundation!

Let's remember that the gospel is "peace on earth", and it is a vital part of Jesus' ultimate gift to us: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14 NET). It is only by having the gospel of Jesus Christ, that gospel of peace, as our firm foundation, that we can even hope to stand firm.

One thing I noted while hiking the trails along the shores of Lake Superior during the summer of 2016 was that the tree roots are very close to the surface. This is because the ground is rocky with very little topsoil, and as a result, many trees are lost each year to wind. But not all trees fall. Some send their roots deeply down the tiny crevasses in the rock, and these trees stand firm. This all makes me think of Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish builders: "Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock." (Matt. 7:24-25 NET). When we put on those "gospel shoes" by standing firm on: "... the preparation that comes from the good news of peace..." (Eph. 6:15 NET), we are essentially sending our roots deep down the tiny crevasses of the Rock, Jesus Christ. We are grounding ourselves on God's love for us, that same love that drives out all fear (see
1 John 1:14); and in so doing, we are ensuring that no matter how strong the wind of temptation or how fierce the storm of trouble--we will stand!

I encourage each of you today to spend some time with God thinking about what it means to fit your feet with: "the preparation that comes from the good news of peace..." Ask yourself if you have truly embraced the fullness of the love of God that is so perfectly demonstrated in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel that brings peace of heart and mind. If you do not fully understand how deeply God loves you, take time today to meditate on God's love for you. Accept His love, rest in it and renounce all fear. Claim Jesus' peace as your own. I guarantee you that if you do, you will walk away from your prayer chamber with your feet properly protected and shod against slippage. You will be changed, empowered, protected, ready to continue the battle, "...so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day" and then, "...and having done everything, to stand" (Eph. 6:13 NET)

Join us on Saturday for "The Armour of God, Part 4: The Shield of Faith".

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "
Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "God's Armour" mini-series, please click here.)