Ephesians 6:13-15 says
Take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
You see, Roman soldiers wore special sandals with pieces of rock, metal or glass embedded into the bottom of the soles, much like today’s football cleats. This enabled them to move more quickly, stop on a dime, change directions in a split second, all without falling like someone they may be doing battle with who wore smooth soled shoes that would slip and slide along the ground.
So, for today’s Christians, it’s important that we prepare ourselves with the Gospel of Peace in order to keep our footing as we walk along life’s paths.
But what is the Gospel of Peace and how are we supposed to prepare ourselves with it?
One way is by memorizing the Gospel message: God loves each of us; but mankind is separated from God as a result of our sin; thankfully, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died on the cross and rose from the dead in order to pay the penalty for our sins and close the gap between us and God; but the decision is ours to place our faith in Jesus, receive His gift of eternal life in heaven and make Him the Lord of our lives while here on earth.
It’s really that simple. Know the Gospel.
Know that God loves each and every one of us. He sent His Son Jesus who, even though He was sinless, died for our sins. Jesus then rose from the dead to prove that He is the Son of God. And each of us can know Him and have eternal life in heaven by believing that Jesus is the Savior that He claimed to be.
You see, mankind’s big problem is that we have all sinned against God and lost our intended relationship with Him. So instead of having constant peace, as God wants for us, we have disorder, friction, chaos, and all the things that would reveal that we are not connected to God. That’s why the verse in Ephesians calls it the Gospel of Peace.
Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, did away with the separation between God and man, and allowed us the opportunity to have peace with God once again.
Paul continues in Ephesians after talking about the Gospel of Peace:
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
This is the next piece of armor that Paul describes: the shield of faith!
Roman soldiers used many different types of shields – small handheld ones used in hand-to-hand combat used to fend off an opponent’s sword. But the one that Paul is talking about is a huge one, often consisting of a pair of large boards bound together with specially treated leather covering the outside. These shields would be used by the soldiers who were on the front lines of the battle. As the enemy would, from afar, launch flaming arrows at the garrison, the Roman soldiers would use these specially made shields to block, fend off, and extinguish the enemy’s flaming arrows.
As we go through life as Christ-followers, we will find ourselves ambushed by “flaming arrows”: temptations, false accusations, depressing thoughts, distractions of all sorts and traps that would keep us from listening to the Spirit of God, who wants to cleanse, fill and empower each of us. But, if we shield ourselves with our faith, we can withstand those attacks!
Finally, Paul writes:
And take the helmet of salvation…
The helmet would (obviously) protect the Roman soldier’s head. For us, by making Jesus the Lord of our lives, our thought life is then run through a Godly filter. When what we think about and how we think is founded on the truth of who God is, then we are protected from Satan’s attacks and lies. We develop this foundation by reading the Bible and getting to know more about Jesus through His Word, prayer, and communication with God.