I know that we read verse 14 yesterday, but I feel a little funny starting off the Scripture reading with “. . . and with your feet fitted. . .” And also there’s the fact that vs. 14 modifies “stand firm”; in other words, how are our feet are fitted describes how we’re supposed to stand firm. It’s all connected.
In talking about our feet being fitted with “the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” Paul’s echoing an image in both Isaiah and in the letter to the book of Romans. Both of those passages talk about the beauty of the feet of those who proclaim Good News. In context, Isaiah was primarily talking about national salvation for Israel from her political oppressors. But Paul in Romans was referring to a far greater salvation, salvation from God’s wrath and into his beloved family of heirs.
People who are called by their Lord to be his ambassadors to a lost world have an awe-inspiring privilege and responsibility. Please forgive me as I quote myself from an earlier posting:
Right now, there are legions upon legions upon legions around the Throne in Heaven. Each one of these angels is incredibly more powerful than you or I could ever hope to be in this life. Almost every time you see an angel appear to someone, the first words out of the angel’s mouth are “Don’t be afraid!” They are luminescent with God’s glory. The stone-cold killing machines known as Roman soldiers fainted dead away at the sight of one. One angel—yes, one angel—killed 185,000 soldiers overnight.
And every one of these angels delights to obey and bring glory to their Creator. Let’s do a thought experiment: If the Lord on his throne said “I’d like to spread the news about my Son to this tribe of nomads in this area. Do I have any volunteers?” My friend, all the angels present would trip all over themselves in rushing forward to volunteer. And if one of them showed up to tell people about Jesus, I think they’d get a lot of attention, don’t you? It’d be hard to dismiss the word of a being like this!
But no. The Lord Almighty, in his wisdom, has chosen to bypass all those volunteers and has chosen. . . you. And he’s chosen me. Can I be frank here? An angel’s not going to chicken out of telling people. He’s not going to mess up the message. He’s not going to get caught doing something that undermines his witness. To my limited understanding, he’d make a much better evangelist and missionary than you or I would be. But God hasn’t chosen any angel. He’s picked us to be his ambassadors and representatives to a lost and dying world. Wow.
To our Father and to those whom we reach with the Good News, the best news they’ve ever heard, our “feet” are “beautiful.” Anyone that we’ve had the privilege of leading to our Savior (or even towards him, if we weren’t the ones who directly introduced them to him) owe us a debt they can never pay, just as we owe an unpayable debt to others.
Note that these shoes are the “the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” God doesn’t call everyone to be an international missionary, or to be a full-time evangelist like Billy Graham. But he calls everyone to be ready to be his ambassador wherever he sends us. That’s part and parcel of being his follower.
Let’s take just a moment to talk about the second piece of armor, the shield of faith. The shield he’s talking about was usually soaked in water so that when an enemy fired flaming arrows (an incredibly devastating attack), they’d be extinguished before they could cause damage. He’s probably not referring to “faith” in the sense of a standard set of Christian doctrine (as in “the faith”), but our basic trust in our Lord. The Enemy lobs all sorts of temptations and lies our way, especially the temptation to lose confidence in the One who most deserves our 100% trust.
Using your shield to squelch these arrows is a choice. Trusting your Lord is a choice. Despite how circumstances might look at the moment, no matter what the Enemy tries to whisper in your ear, you have to choose to trust.
Shoes do no good if they’re never worn, and a shield is useless if it’s never picked up.
Lord Jesus, wherever you send me, whether it’s across an ocean or across the street to my neighbor, I want to be ready. I trust you, but I need to trust you more. Please help me.