In this world where the culture seems to be dictating what is right and wrong, and we are often taking our cues from Hollywood or Washington D.C., it often feels like the church is losing ground. Instead of influencing society, society is influencing us.
Some people think that the ultimate solution is to vote the right candidates into office, or to create social reform, or to think more positively, or to boycott this and that.
In our personal lives, we may find ourselves losing ground as well, and we wonder what it is we’re doing wrong. How do we stop regressing and instead move forward? It is essential in the Christian life that we not only hold our ground, but actually gain ground for God’s kingdom. How do we do that?
The answer might surprise you because it has to do with footwear!
The Right Shoes
In the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes the spiritual armor that we must put on if we are to be victorious in the Christian life.
He mentions the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. All of these things were represented in the various pieces of a Roman soldier’s armor, which Paul would have had ample occasion to study since he was under guard for so long.
But one other thing that Paul lists—which is every bit as important to a Roman soldier’s armor as a shield or breastplate—was the soldier’s shoes. Paul says that you should have “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15 KJV).
When you or I go to look at shoes, we might put style at the top of the list. But many of the shoes we think look great simply aren’t practical.
Recently, my shins had been feeling achy and I suspected the problem was my shoes. I went to a store that sells athletic shoes and they got me on a treadmill. After watching me walk for a bit, the shoe guy said, “I know what your problem is. You’re pronating.” I was offended!
Actually, I had no idea what that meant.
Then he explained that pronating basically means my foot sort of rolls. He said to me, “You need more support. You need a firmer sole.” So I got shoes with firmer soles for when I run (which is pretty much never).
But here’s the point: I needed the right footwear for the activity.
Keep Your Firm Foundation and Remain Ready
Hands down, my favorite shoe is the Converse® Chuck Taylor. I pretty much live in them, despite the fact that they have little to no arch support. But the shoes of the Roman soldier had to be functional. They would have three qualities:
- They had to have good grip, giving traction and solid footing. In hand-to-hand combat, losing your footing can be deadly.
- The shoes also had to be tough to protect the foot from spikes or sharp rocks. Otherwise, one faulty step could puncture a soldier’s foot and he’d be out of commission.
- Finally, the shoes needed to be light, giving the soldier the mobility to cross 100 yards of open field in a minute.
But what exactly is this referring to, in the spiritual battle?
In the original Greek, the word preparation used in Ephesians 6:15 can be defined as “firm-footing; a strong foundation.” We need to have a firm foundation in God’s Word.
This word preparation could also be translated as “readiness.” The idea is to be ready to share the gospel at any hour. Scripture tells us that we as believers “should be on duty at all times.” You never know when an opportunity will arise for you to share the gospel with someone.
Again, it’s the idea of being ready and willing to move at a moment’s notice. Those opportunities to share the gospel often come when we least expect them.
Delivering the Gospel…On Foot
This is how we gain ground for the kingdom of God: by sharing our faith. When is the last time you looked for an opportunity to communicate the gospel? When is the last time you prayed for an unsaved person by name to come to Christ? When is the last time you personally brought a nonbeliever to church with you?
Remember, the primary way that God reaches people is through people—people like you and me.
Paul writes in Romans 10:13-15:
“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (NIV)
Look at your feet for a moment. Go on, look at them! Those feet can be beautiful feet if you let them carry you forward with the message of the gospel.
The word beautiful can actually be translated “lively.” So let’s restate that: “How lively are the feet of those that preach the gospel of peace!” If you want lively feet, if you want a spring in your step, then share the gospel.
Let me say something that maybe you haven’t heard. I honestly believe that a key to personal revival is to share your faith.
The gospel by design is not to be hoarded. It’s to be shared, and as you share this life-giving message with others it’s also a life-giving message to you.
Ask the Lord for an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with someone today!