Readiness of the Gospel of Peace
I need you to know two things about me, friend:
1. I love shoes.
2. I love penguins.
You wouldn’t think a scenario would exist where these two facts might overlap, but you would be wrong. Because a few years ago, my husband found these beauties…
Now listen. I know you want to rush off to Amazon to buy penguin slippers of your very own, but stick with me here for a few more minutes.
These shoes are so very me. I really do quite enjoy them. But their practicality is limited. They really only get worn during the winter, and definitely only in my house. This is not a popular policy with everyone. Almost once a week, Joey runs into my closet and brings them to me, ever hopeful that he will convince me to don my penguins and head out for the day.
He may eventually wear me down. He is pretty cute, after all.
Seriously, though, having the right pair of shoes is essential. I love a cute pair of heels, but they wouldn’t serve me well on a hike. And as useful as my winter boots are when I’m playing in the snow with Joey, you won’t find me wearing them when we’re relaxing on the boat over the summer.
So it’s no surprise that Paul mentions footwear in his discussion of armor. Soldiers care about what is covering their feet. Did you know that armies in those days would sharpen sticks and then bury them upright so that they were barely visible? If an enemy ran onto the battlefield with thin soles—or worse, barefooted—they would be quickly disabled! Any parent who has stepped on a Lego can imagine the pain of a field full of sharp sticks!
Roman soldiers wore special shoes when they were dressed for battle. Not only were they thick-soled (for sure!), but the bottoms held spikes, much like the cleats some athletes wear today. These spikes helped them to have secure footing as they engaged with the enemy.
Secure footing. And Paul tells the Ephesians that what keeps us secure is “the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (verse 15).
As Paul penned these words, he almost certainly had in mind the words of the prophet Isaiah:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
We come to war with good news of peace. Our God reigns! Earlier in Ephesians, Paul encouraged his readers, “For [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made us both [Jews and Gentiles] one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (2:14). Last week we learned that the righteousness we wear is God’s, and this week we hear that Christ himself is our peace. This is the gospel, the good news that we share. Christ has done the work. He has given himself as the sacrifice for our sins, he has defeated death, he has won the war. We can stand firm in the peace Christ has secured for us.
But before we run off, can we just take one more look at the phrase Paul uses here? Because he doesn’t say that our shoes are the gospel itself, but the readiness given by the gospel of peace. The word translated “readiness” here can also be translated “preparation.” Paul knows that we can stand firm when we are prepared for the battle. This, my friend, means time and attention. God has already accomplished the work of securing our peace, and our job is to root ourselves in it. When we devote ourselves to spending time with the Lord—reading His Word, praying, and engaging in spiritual disciplines—we have the readiness of the gospel.
It reminds me of Peter’s words, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). This passage used to intimidate me—I thought I needed to have a 3-point sermon ready at any given moment. And while I am not knocking the value of a good evangelistic tool, I think Peter’s point is to be so immersed in our relationship with Christ that our love for him and devotion to him pours out of us.
So what are you wearing today? Are your feet protected and secure, ready to stand firm against the enemy? Or have you stepped up to the battlefield in slippers? (And penguin slippers at that!) (Hint: If you want to be better prepared, check out the “Battle Prep” section below!)
As always, I love the chance to pray for you! Hit reply and let me know if you are standing firm in the gospel of peace this week, or if you could use a battle buddy to help keep you on your feet!
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With each piece of armor we cover, I’ll include some extra Bible passages for you to study and thoughts for you to think through, journal about, and/or discuss with others.
What exactly is the gospel of peace? The Bible Project gives a fantastic explanation of the word “gospel” in this video. It’s less than 5 minutes long, and I highly recommend it (along with all of their amazing resources)!
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. He is our King forever! He has paid the price for our sins, and he has clothed us in his righteousness so that we can stand before him as fellow heirs, members of God’s big family!
Read Isaiah 52:7-10
Who is God (via Isaiah) speaking to in this passage? What would these words have meant to them? Phrases like “good news of happiness” and “you waste places of Jerusalem” had real and specific meaning for the Israelites who heard them. How could these verses also point forward to the Messiah? How is God still fulfilling this promise to comfort his people and “bare his holy arm”?
Read Romans 10:8-15
What does this tell us about the gospel of peace? Who is the gospel for? Why does the gospel bring about peace?
Read Ephesians 2:11-18
How is Christ Jesus our peace? Who are the “two” he is talking about in this passage?
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