Because we are wearing the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness, we now also have another armor piece: the Shoes or Readiness. What are these shoes, what should we do with them, and why do they depend on the belt and the breastplate? And how will they help you win the battle? Let’s look at those questions in this third part of the series about the armor of God.
In Ephesians 6:15 (ESV) Paul says: “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” Or straight from the original Greek: “and having shod the feet with readiness of the gospel of peace.”
We can deduct from this sentence that the gospel (the good news of salvation through Christ) comes with two things: peace, which is inherent to it, and readiness, which is a result of it. And if we know what that means, we know what these spiritual shoes represent and what we should do with them.
Let’s look at both attributes separately:
You might know that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and that the one who accepts Him, will have Peace, and the one who doesn’t will not. His Spirit provides His peace from within and on top of that, through you He will bring Peace to others too. Jesus taught His disciples this very lesson when He sent them out to share the Gospel: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.” (Luke 10:5-6, ESV)
In the first part of this series we have seen how the Belt of Truth represents the role of the Holy Spirit, and why wearing this Belt is essential to the whole armor. This is a clear example of that: We can’t feel His peace, nor take it anywhere if we don’t have the Holy Spirit.
Paul explains that God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, ESV). And we should let this peace rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15), because when Peace rules in our hearts, we don’t have to worry about anything. If we need anything, we know that we can simply ask for it.
After receiving the good news, the action starts. Jesus says that we need to stay dressed for action and keep our lamps burning (Luke 12:35). How does that relate to wearing Shoes of Readiness?
The way I see it, readiness has at least 3 components: 1) eagerness to act, 2) knowing where to go and what to do, and 3) being prepared.
Being dressed for action, as Jesus says, falls into the third category. And we know how to be dressed appropriately: we need to wear our full armor.
Jesus says that we should keep our lamps burning. This falls in the first and second categories. By the Light, we will see where we are going, even when it gets dark. This knowing where to go and what to do comes from following the instructions of our Commander. He instructs us mainly through His Word but speaks to us in many other ways too. All we need to do is ask (pray).
And for walking the way of our Commander, we are going to need good shoes that won’t allow you to slip, are light as a feather, but sturdy at the same time. Roman soldiers in those days wore light sandals, which allowed them to swiftly move from one place to another without their shoes being a painful burden or trip hazard (unlike the heels some of us like to walk in). Just like those sandals, the Shoes of Readiness aren’t a burden at all, while they provide a sturdy grip and stability.
Back in those days, lamps used olive oil to burn, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is in fact the driving force behind our motivation to act. That is why keeping our lamps burning, as Jesus says, also falls into the first category. As we keep feeding our flame through the hearing of the Word of God, we will stir up zeal in our spirits, a passion for God. Because the more room we give God to work in us, the more we will know Him. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him. The more we love Him, the more we will want to please Him. And as a result, we want to give to others what we have so freely received ourselves: mercy, love, joy, peace, and much more.
This is also where our Breastplate of Righteousness is needed again because since we reap what we sow, we should make sure that we sow from a place of righteousness. Paul wrote about this: “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor 9:10, ESV).
Without Light, we are blinded by darkness and we wouldn’t know where to go and we wouldn’t be able to sow anything. And we know that faith without deeds is dead (James 2:17), and in the same way, will any soldier who doesn’t move be dead sooner or later. We need to be ready, we need to move, and follow Christ until we triumph in victory.
Although verses 14 and 15 of Ephesians 6 are often translated as separate sentences, they are really one sentence: “Stand (firm) therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod the feet with readiness of the gospel of peace.”
That means that the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, and the Shoes of Readiness all work together to give you a firm stance:
- You won’t be pushed over by the lies of the enemy if the Holy Spirit teaches you what is Truth.
- You won’t be pushed into sinning if you walk in God’s righteousness.
- And you won’t be paralyzed by fear because the peace of God will keep you ready for action.
Isn’t that truly good news?
Click on any of the links below to read about another piece of armor. Or read them all to see how they all work together.
Part 2: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 5: The Helmet of Salvation
Part 6: The Sword of the Spirit