Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Most all the armor items in this verse are straight-forward: breastplate, helmet; shield and buckle; sword. When I read this verse I imagine soldiers standing upright as their commanding general walks down the line yelling out preparations. Each item’s roll call is met with a collective and guttural “Yes sir”, indicating a battalion ready to be part of a respectable war. But when I get to the word peace my mind comes to a screeching halt. Confusion fills my head like smoke at a NASCAR race.
I mean what in the world does peace have to do with a formidable fight!?
My thoughts go from the valiant Braveheart to Goofy at Disneyland. Understandably swords, shields, helmets and flaming arrows make sense to me as requirements for a war. But then I ask myself, why would God cover the body with armor and then stop short at the feet? And why mention the word peace on the checklist for such undaunted combat?
There are 52 bones in our feet and they make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body. Feet are flexible structures of bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues that help us stand upright and perform activities like walking, running, and jumping. Without feet or toes our ability to balance and move would be highly limited. So, our feet are a means of support and transportation. I believe there is a reason God left our feet unencumbered for this fight. He knew there would be times where movement is needed— when quick, strategic movement is useful for winning a war.
Ephesians 6 says to come against the attack we must put on the FULL armor of God including feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Apparently, God thinks swift feet and peace are an important way to stand firm against the enemy in the day of evil. And if the idea of briskly walking toward peace is a strategy for winning, then staying bogged down in areas not producing peace becomes a distraction and loss of focus.
There is a lot of talk lately about the tension-filled times our nation is facing. It is incredibly easy to get sucked into commentaries and expert opinions from television shows to Facebook posts. But after indulging these highways of communications I am left with feelings of frustration or hopelessness— name calling, insults, and anger-filled responses are quite the opposite of peace. Wouldn’t it make sense that disunity in the Church right now would be a big victory for the enemy? Isn’t it true we are to uphold justice, salvation, truth and honor? But is it also true we are to keep ourselves focused on how we are to do that? A divided house will not stand.
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Although we don’t have complete control over who enters office, we do have a responsibility in how we respond. And our response is indicative of how well we are performing in our armor. Beloved Church, may we see that above the battle lines there is a much deeper value held in the balance: the value of what we as Christians preach and how we act under the pressure of it. The best opportunity for the Church to show itself “winning” is during times when it is under the test of peace, patience, and self-control. Sweet Church, let’s not get distracted by fearsome worry and anger but instead let our feet be quick to move toward peace for the sake of those around us. Remember, many are watching.