Ephesians 6:10-13, 14
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In Ephesians 6 Paul introduces us to God’s awesome armor as well as the real war that is being waged in this world. It is the third piece of armor, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, that help us to gain a firm footing as we stand against Satan’s strategies. When it comes to a fight seasoned soldiers know the importance of good footwear. The Roman soldiers of Paul’s day wore shoes called caligae, these were heavy-soled hobnailed military boots were worn by all ranks up to and including centurions. Even though caligae seem to resemble our modern day sandals they were actually marching boots. They were designed to reduce the likelihood of blisters forming during forced marches, and their open design allowed for a free flow of air to the feet to combat disabling foot conditions like trench foot. Caligae were constructed from three leather layers with iron hobnails hammered into the soles giving the soldier both reinforcement and traction. It was their footwear that provides a firm foothold while marching through treacherous terrain. So when facing the enemy on a slope instead of slipping and stumbling and giving ground they could stand. It was their footwear that helped them to make quick moves without slipping, sliding or surrendering. One of the most overlooked factors in winning the war is actually what’s fitted to your feet. So Paul reminds us to be prepared for the war that will be waged; it is not if we will fight but when. So how does this peace prepare us? The Gospel of peace, just like the footwear that Roman soldiers wore, provides the solid sole, a firm foundation no matter the terrain. We must remember that it is a foundation that has already been laid, God’s provision of peace that we walk in. This “Good News” comes from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, when He paid the penalty for our sin. He brings us peace first by reconciling us to God, Colossians 1:20-21 “and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Because as Romans 5:10 reminds us, we were enemies of God, “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” but now we are His family by faith, Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” God is now our strength and refuge, our feet are fitted in His provision of peace enabling us to proceed. We stand on the foundation of forgiveness, resting in His redemption, knowing that we are His and He is ours. Because of the cross of Calvary we can proceed in confident peace without fear for the Lord has promised in 1 Samuel 2:9 that, “He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness”. The psalmist held on to this same assurance when cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me” Psalm 94:18. Without the security that comes from having our feet firmly planted in faith we would fail, apart from the Word of God it’s just a slippery slope. Not only can we stand against the strategies of Satan but we can proclaim God’s peace to a hopeless and hurting world. We are called to go forth into battle under Christ’s banner, announcing His plan of peace to all people. Are you engaged in the battle, are you boldly proclaiming His message of mercy? Isaiah 52:7 reminds us: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Peace is practical it’s where the sole meets the soil, it provides the way to win the war. Are you resting on the solid sole of peace, are you standing firm in the faith? If we only give “peace” a loosely fitting position in our lives, then attacks of our adversary will take us down. We need to let His provision of peace permeate our minds and engage our emotions in a confidence peace that can overcome our carnal panic. It is His peace that allows us to move out in conquering faith despite what we may see or hear. It is this aggressive peace that puts us in a position to look directly into the face of fear and confront the challenge instead of cowering and giving ground. God’s perfect plan is that His prevailing and conquering peace will dominate and direct your life. Only His prevailing and conquering peace can hold you in place when the devil is trying to drive you back. The call for God’s children is to stand, In Ephesians 6 we are called to “Stand” in 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul urges us, “Watch, stand fast in the faith…” and 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul says, “…for by faith you stand.” We are called to stand strong and secure in the firm footing that peace provides. Are you standing on scripture, on the spoken promises of God? In this life there will be dark discouraging moments when you will be tempted to turn and run instead of resist. What is it that is going to keep you in place when the wicked winds pound and opposition threatens to overwhelm you? Only the peace of God can hold you in place, just like the roots of a tree that resists the storm holding it fast in the midst of the furry, so His peace will provide us protection in the wicked winds of this war. Are your feet firmly planted in the soil of God’s Word, are you grounded in the peace of God? Not only will His peace protect but it also provides the way to stand secure in this war because there is more power in God’s peace than in the one who prowls.