15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
(Ephesians 6:15 NIV)
As we look at the full armor of God, we have reviewed the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness so far. Today, we take a look at the footwear needed for a soldier.
Before we look at verse 15, let’s go back and look at verses 13 and 14a. Notice what Paul said:
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then…
(Ephesians 6:13-14a NIV, emphasis mine)
Notice that Paul mentions standing three times here. Do you suppose this might be important?
A soldier does not fight lying down, or sitting. A soldier fights standing up. If you can’t stand, you can’t fight. Since nearly all of the fighting was hand-to-hand combat, footwear was vitally important to winning the battle and defeating the enemy.
Footwear for a Roman soldier was a heavy boot, to protect the soldier’s foot. The boots had small nails protruding, similar to track cleats or football shoes, so the soldiers would not slip on the ground. The terrain was rough, with thorns and sticks protruding out of the ground that would pierce the soldier’s feet. The rough rocks and cobblestones the soldiers had to march over would bruise their feet if they did not have shoes. Shoes were essential to victory.
So what is Paul saying here? He is talking about sharing the Gospel with the unsaved? While that is a tempting conclusion, that is not what he is referring to. Remember the context – this is preparation for battle with the enemy. And who is the enemy? The devil and all his schemes (verses 11 and 12).
So how do we fight? Do we charge the enemy, like the old movies portray typical battlefield scenes? Again, we need to look at the text and see what Paul says.
Verses 13 and 14a tell us that we just need to stand our ground. The devil does not fight fair. He plays mind games with us, and tries to bully us and get us to loose our cool and respond emotionally, or taunts us and tries to bully us so that we will either run away scared, or chase after him and leave our post unguarded.
So Paul’s instruction to us is clear – just stand our ground and defend the turf God has given us. We are prepared, Paul says, with the gospel of peace.
This feels very counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Our natural inclination is to either run away, or aggressively fight – the old “fight-or-flight” scenario that happens so often in human and spiritual relationships.
But as believers, Paul tells us that we put our boots on to stand our ground. He knows this is not a physical battle, but the battle for our minds and our hearts. And the enemy does not fight fair.
Lace up your spiritual boots today before heading out – you’ll need them.