Firm Footing

The third piece of armor is having your “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” What does this piece of armor provide? Athletes wear cleats to guarantee firm footing when they compete. The Roman soldiers of old were no different. Bits of nails or spikes were attached to their shoes to enable them to traverse all types of ground. In the rigors of battle, the soldier needed confidence that he could stop and pivot quickly. In the Roman world, armies did not have land mines. Instead, they used sharpened spikes just beneath the surface of the ground, camouflaged with leaves or soft dirt. An advancing soldier needed sturdy boots to stop the spikes from penetrating or he would suffer a debilitating injury. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of wading into the water at the beach, where rocks and sharp stones are causing you to gingerly walk off balance. Contrast that with the same experience while wearing “water shoes.” Hardly feeling a thing, you are able to walk quickly and securely.

Proclaiming Peace

Let’s look at both aspects of this piece of armor, the part of “readiness” and the part of “peace.” Combining readiness and peace, makes it clear that peace must be pursued. We must take the initiative in our relationships, to make it happen. To use the metaphor, when I take time to pray and study the Word, I am being clothed with my “gospel shoes.” I am ready to be a messenger for God. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace.” Isa. 52:7 A marriage overcome by conflict needs to examine the reasons for this missing piece of armor.

Along with the battle aspect, is also the important fact that I am walking side by side with many other soldiers. Given that the enemy’s schemes often revolve around attempts to divide the church, readiness must partner with peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Peacemakers are those who make an effort to bring tranquility to the body of Christ. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:3 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Rom. 14:19 “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Heb. 12:15

Wisdom From Above

Falling short of the grace of God, is going to be the experience of every spouse from time to time. The key, is to recover quickly before a bitter root has time to grow. Here is a sober reminder: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” Jas. 3:14-18
Two places where I’ve seen this play out. One, in a church split. You would think that everyone is barefoot in the battle! Very few seem to be pursuing peace and some are intentionally making it difficult for others to move about in a productive way. Two, in a separation or divorce. There are unspiritual and demonic elements at play and unless seeds of peace begin to be sown, both sides will slide into a harvest of defeat.

Spiritual Authority

One more note on this piece of armor: “feet” in the Bible conveys the idea of spiritual authority. A king in the ancient world would literally put his foot on the neck of his defeated foe. “When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, ‘Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.'” Josh. 10:24-25

Right now, Jesus is waiting until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. Heb. 10:13 We the church, have been given authority to walk over serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Lk. 10:19 When discord strikes your marriage, as it does with all of us, it’s an opportunity to walk in the authority that you’ve been given in Christ.