We have been going through battlefield trainings for spiritual warfare as Spiritual Soldiers in Christ. How do we fight the battles that must be won to see God’s victory for those around us? We’ve been discussing the strategies and tactics Jesus has given us.
As we continue to talk about the armor of God, having completed our battlefield training on the breastplate of righteousness, we turn to speak of the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace. Sounds like a mouthful but we will develop a better understanding of this first offensive weapon in our arsenal. Let’s dive in!
- Stand firm.
Four times in three verses the Bible commands us to stand firm against the enemy (Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14). We stand firm against the enemy by wearing the shoes of the readiness for the gospel of peace.
The Roman soldier’s boots were an amazing piece of military hardware. They were made of leather with metal studs on the bottoms. They provided a firmer grip on the ground and allowed the soldiers to brace against their enemies. The Roman armies did not give up ground with this kind of footwear.
Paul talks about standing firm because of the firm grip these shoes provided for the Roman soldier. With metal studs on the bottom they were like cleats for our athletes today. The soldier could have a firm stance and not be pushed around.
The gospel of peace helps us stand firm against the enemies of God. And when we move forward and take steps toward the enemy the ground we gain will not easily be given up.
As we advance the gospel of peace the enemy cannot stop us. Every step we take is secure and firm. Paul commands Christians to stand firm in battle with the enemy because they have the strength and security to stand. But they must have the will to use these powerful shoes.
- Be ready for action.
Roman soldiers were always ready for battle because of their footwear. They were able to march for longer periods of time, cover more ground, and move swiftly. But when they got to the battlefield they were ready to spring into action.
This is why Paul talks about the readiness for the gospel of peace by referencing Roman soldiers’ boots. Paul emphasizes readiness. We must be prepared for the battle. We must be alert, because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion ready to pounce (1 Peter 5:8).
Every Christian must be ready to share the gospel at a moment’s notice. It is the most powerful weapon we have, for we overcome the enemy by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). When we speak the gospel it brings revelation and truth to everyone who hears.
Be prepared not only by knowing how to share the gospel, what must be included in the gospel message, but also your testimony. The enemy cannot refute your story of how you met Jesus and what He has done for you.
I used the think my testimony was not very powerful. I considered myself the average Christian trying to live for Jesus in a hostile world. But what I did not count on was that from a very early age I was saved. My testimony begins with the many years I have had to serve the Lord already.
Since September 2013 when I became paralyzed from the neck down my testimony has become even more powerful. People want to know why I continue to believe in Jesus despite my physical circumstances. It opens the door to talk about Jesus and faith in Him.
Your testimony no matter what you think of it is powerful for tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. It opens the door for people to believe in Jesus. So have your testimony and gospel presentation ready beforehand.
But don’t follow a rigid, cookie-cutter gospel message. People can see that coming. They don’t respond unless you have a genuine testimony and tailored presentation of the gospel. Make it personal to them and personal from you. And the enemy will have to flee.
- Spread the gospel.
Many scholars believe Paul is hinting at Isaiah 52:7 which tells us that the feet of those who bring good news are beautiful. The shoes for the readiness of the gospel of peace are an offensive weapon because they move forward, taking ground from the enemy.
With these shoes we advance the gospel. Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19). The shoes protect the soldier as he or she advances. But they are not for advancing the gospel and taking ground from the enemy.
When Jesus tells us to go into all the world, the command is actually to make disciples of the nations. It’s better understood that as we go wherever we are going we make disciples. How do we make disciples? By baptizing them and teaching them (Matthew 28:19-20).
As we spread the gospel everywhere we go we spread the light of Jesus to those who are captive in darkness. The fight has the darkness and evil spiritual forces on the defensive. They cannot penetrate or destroy the light. The light overcomes the darkness.
You need not be afraid as you spread the gospel. Even if you are persecuted for your faith people cannot refute what you have to say. Stand firm and advance God’s Kingdom by preaching the gospel with authority and power.
- Declare the good news.
The word “gospel” means good news. The good news is that Jesus has come to set the captives free from sin and give them access to Him. What do we need to talk about when we declare the good news?
The central focus of the gospel is that people are sinful and need a Savior. Jesus came to be that Savior. When their eyes are open to this good news they can become part of God’s family. They accept the truth about themselves. They confess their sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness. They have peace with God and He transforms them into children of light.
This is a powerful message that we bring to the world. But you don’t have to be a preacher or a minister to declare the good news. You don’t have to have a three-point sermon, or a sermon at all. Most people declare the good news by living a holy lifestyle.
People will be attracted to your lifestyle when they see its benefits. But your lifestyle is only to draw people in so they can hear the gospel. You must speak the gospel. If you use compassion ministry people will either think you are a good person or that you just want glory for yourself. It’s when you open your mouth and proclaim to them the reason for your compassion and lifestyle that the Holy Spirit uses your testimony and proclamation to move in their hearts.
To declare the good news of Jesus Christ you do not have to be a super evangelist. You only have to allow the Holy Spirit to show you the open door to speak about Jesus and give your testimony. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
- Bring peace to the battle.
Battles are about violence and chaos. But the shoes for the readiness of the gospel of peace bring peace to the battlefield. Peace in the Bible isn’t always about stopping hostility. We carry the good news of the peace of God to those in need.
Jesus calls us blessed because we are His peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). The world is used to war. They are used to chaos and violence. But they are not prepared for soldiers who bring peace. The ability to bring peace, the good news of reconciliation with God, to those who need Him is a powerful mission.
You are a different kind of soldier. While you fight the enemy with spiritual weapons, he cannot bring peace. Only these shoes can take peace to people who are God’s enemies by default. Paul has described how Jesus made peace between two warring factions in His day, the Jews and the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14-16).
As spiritual soldiers we carry this message of peace to everyone who is an enemy of God. They have the opportunity to have peace with God and be reconciled to Him. No other faction on the battlefield has this ability or message.
The shoes for the readiness of the gospel of peace are the first offensive weapon in the armor of God. Sharing the gospel with others and bringing peace in a time of chaos and war takes back territory from the enemy.
Be prepared to share your faith with those you meet. By opening the door to the good news of Jesus’ victory over the enemy you carry a different message. The shoes advance God’s Kingdom through peace. What are some ways you can share the gospel in your own way?
We have just discussed the shoes for the readiness of the gospel of peace as the third piece of armor in the armor of God. In our next battlefield training for the spiritual soldier in Christ we will talk about the shield of faith.