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The Shoes of Peace

By Caron Cline

Burke CountyCaron Cline

 

In the last few months, we have been examining each piece of the armor that Paul described in Ephesians chapter 6. Each piece is essential; no piece can be left out if we plan to have victory as followers of Christ.

We have learned that the belt of truth must be worn, positionally, and intentionally so that our core is protected. Everything else hinges on this foundation of truth. We must also put on the breastplate of righteousness, positionally and intentionally, so that others may see Jesus through our attitudes and actions. His righteousness, justice, truth, and holiness must be manifested in our lives. The next item to be added is our shoes of peace.

The Roman soldiers wore sandals made of leather with straps that wrapped around the calves up to the knees. Soldiers could walk up to 25 miles a day without blisters because of the soft leather and open-air design. A strip of metal was built into each shoe for stability. Each shoe had two different sizes of metal studs on the bottoms which provided traction when walking, running, or standing firm while fighting. Soldiers needed to be able to stand firm, especially if the ground was slippery and these spikes kept them on their feet.
We must stand firm concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. In our culture, it seems as if we are on a slippery slope concerning the good news of Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. The narrow road of only one way to heaven is under serious attack, but it always has been.  We must always be prepared to share the gospel of peace.
Gospel comes from the Greek word ‘euangelion’ and it means good news or good tidings. Jesus, Himself, came preaching the gospel.
Mark 1:14-15 states that “…Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, and saying ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’”.
Jesus also commissioned his followers to preach the gospel. Luke 9:2 says ‘And He (Jesus) sent them (His disciples) out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing’.
Although Jesus is the Prince of Peace, sometimes the gospel seems anything but peaceful. When the message is received with faith, the hearer is immediately at peace with God through the sacrifice of Jesus. However, those who reject the truth of the gospel are immediately in conflict with sincere believers. Light and darkness cannot coexist.

Jesus was quite honest concerning this tension between those who receive this message of peace and those who do not, even in one’s own family.  Jesus instructed His disciples in Matthew 10:34-36 concerning these things. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be a member of his household”. Those are strong words for the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes and that power produces radical transformation. Old things pass away and new things replace the old. There is a cost to following Jesus, yet it does not compare to the price He paid for our redemption. Paul reminds us in the first few chapters of Ephesians that we have redemption through Jesus’ blood and the forgiveness of all our sins. We are reconciled to our heavenly Father and we have peace with Him through Christ Jesus. Therefore, we must put on our shoes of peace and spread the good news of the gospel.

One thing to note is that our feet are not shod with the gospel but with the readiness of the gospel. John Piper says he thinks this means ‘let your feet be ready to move with the gospel’. Paul probably had Isaiah 52:7 in mind as he thought about the running feet of people bringing the good news of peace.

Peter challenged all believers to be ready to answer the hope that is within. Our salvation story is the tool that the Holy Spirit will use to draw others to the Savior. We must stay prepared to share the gospel; to hurriedly herald this good news as God gives opportunity. The phrase, ‘gospel of peace’, is a Greek phrase for ‘gospel of bliss’. Bliss means perfect happiness or great joy. We are to have our feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of perfect happiness or great joy. The good news we carry has so much more power than we can imagine. People in our world are desperate for peace. In describing the armor that every believer must wear for spiritual victory over the enemy, peace takes center stage.

The devil has an agenda but our God has a greater agenda. The devil’s agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy. God’s agenda is that we have eternal life as well as abundant life. Peace in abundance is our birthright through Jesus, and this good news is certainly worth sharing. We are called to be agents of reconciliation, just as Paul referred to himself. But it is not an easy assignment. Most of the time, the devil has us convinced that no one is interested in hearing the gospel, which is not true. People are desperately seeking peace, hope, joy, and love.  They just do not realize that all these qualities are found only in Jesus Christ.  Our responsibility is to listen and then share the gospel of peace in love. But if we are going to impact the lives of those around us, we must be people who allow the peace of God to rule and reign in our hearts. He is to rule and we are to rest.

The recent shelter-in-place order, based on the uncertainty of the Corona Virus, has drained the peace of many, including God’s people. We cannot allow the enemy to replace our peace with fear for we cannot share the gospel of peace under a yoke of fear. On the heels of the virus has come racial unrest, another opportunity for our enemy to steal our peace. Just hours before Jesus would suffer on the cross for our sins, He said these powerful words to His disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you’. We must not allow the enemy to deceive us for Satan’s objective in these unprecedented days is to weaken our witness. The Holy Spirit gives us the fuel of faith to speak words of spirit and life as we remain ready to share the gospel of Christ. Those words of peace will bring rest and satisfaction to all who receive them.

Hebrews 4:3, in the Amplified Version says:  “For we who believe (that is, we who personally trust and confidently rely on God) enter that rest (so we have His inner peace now because we are confident in our salvation, and assured of His power)”. Believing and receiving the gospel message is what allows us to enter the rest of God. Jesus said from the cross, ‘it is finished’. Why? Jesus did all the work necessary to secure our peace with God. In the words of the Old Testament, we have entered into a permanent Sabbath. We have ceased striving and now rest in the finished work of the cross, a place of inner soul peace testifying to the world of the amazing grace of God.

Our responsibility is to spread this gospel of peace wherever we plant our feet and to do so in an attitude of peace and rest. Let’s get ready and stay ready! The shoes are just our size!

You can read more from Caron Cline HERE.

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Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.

Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

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