“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm . . . . having fastened on . . . shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” – Ephesians 6:13-15
Large holes in the soles of my dad’s shoes were noticed by a banker when Dad approached him for a business loan in the 1950s. In spite of his shoes, he got the loan. Dad had an impressive business plan and needed to support our family of six. The banker was wise enough to see that the shoes were not a matter of neglect, but of financial need.
Shoes are important. Folks spend time and money acquiring boots, sandals, sneakers, slippers, moccasins, mules, and more! Finding shoes for comfort and practicality is more than a hobby; it is a necessity for active living. In contrast, poor quality shoes can be distressing when people need suitable footwear for life and livelihoods.
Protective shoes referenced in the key Bible verses were provided for first-century Roman soldiers and were designed for slippery slopes of rough terrain; long days of marching long miles; and durability and stability. Stability was required for standing firm in all battle stances. The shoe/foot metaphor points to circumstances believers may encounter in spiritual warfare. In spite of a believer’s occasional stumbles and fumbles, the Lord desires his followers to stand firm in the gospel truth.
Strength for standing firm is aptly expressed in Jude 24-25. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.”
Indeed, in the Savior’s authority we can stand firm and avoid stumbling during spiritual warfare! Along with the Prophet Isaiah, spiritually well-shod believers also joyfully celebrate, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth” (Isaiah 52:7 KJV)!
Guide us Lord, as we “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). Guide our feet as we devotedly share the good news of salvation with folks whose shoes are muddy, smelly, ugly, or fancy—and those with no shoes. Thank you for our victory in battle as we “Look carefully then how [we] walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15). Amen.
Kay Henry is a columnist for The Claremore Progress. All Bible quotations are from “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version” (ESV), unless otherwise noted.