Finding Strength: Are Your Feet Protected?
Feb 7th, 2021
I used to have many different jobs. I haven’t always been a pastor. Over the years, there have been some jobs that were long term, and some that were temporary just to fill in until I found something better. Did you know that I was a forklift driver at the Tim Horton’s coffee roasting facility for a short while (if you know me, you know that is a dangerous place for me)? Also, I was a temporary factory worker at the Tim Horton’s bakery (that is almost as bad as being surrounded all day with Tim’s coffee… talk about temptation). For a few years, I worked as one who daily cleaned and serviced city buses. And I know this will be hard to believe, but after I first got married, I did a short stint in construction.
For all these jobs, I had to have special shoes for the job (steel enforced safety shoes). The reason being? There were hazards at each of these jobs that could have been dangerous to my feet. An accident could happen that could hurt, crush, or permanently damage my feet.
Having the right shoes are important. Today we are talking about putting on the right shoes, as it relates to our spiritual feet. We are talking about protecting our spiritual feet in the battle that we are in as followers of Jesus.
I Invite you to turn to Eph 6:15, and as you do, just a reminder where we are at. We are in a series together (that will take us to Easter) about putting on the strength, the protection, the armor of God so that we can face the challenges of this life that seek to bring us down spiritually.
There are four things though that we need to understand that are crucial as we talk about putting this armor on:
1) The same grace that restores us to God through Jesus puts us into conflict with Satan. Our enemy does not like it that we are following Jesus and are in a restored relationship with God, so he will do whatever he can to stop us from having that closeness.
2) It is in the routine of life that we face the challenges from our enemy. It isn’t always some big, easy to spot attack. It is in the routine things where our guards are down, and we aren’t expecting it that the enemy likes to move in.
3) You can’t get by on your own strength and being strong enough. We do not have it in us to be able to win this battle.
4) The Armor we are told to put on isn’t decorative, it is foundational. We need this armor to be able to properly live as a follower of Jesus and engage in the spiritual battle that comes as a result. The armor, because of who it belongs to, and because of who puts it on us, is a tool of victory.
1) Proper shoes were a part of a soldier’s armour.
This verse is all about shoes. What is the significance here of shoes? A roman soldier (which Paul is basing his object lesson off of) who wasn’t wearing his shoes was a roman soldier who was not ready to go to battle. They would not be ready to walk on the dangerous, uneven, jagged, or rough ground. They would not be able to have a firm grip that they needed on the ground in order to stand their ground. They would be at a big disadvantage.
The shoes were
a. Sturdy: They were made out of a thick leather, so the shoes would provide protection when walking over hazardous terrain. As well, they were comfortable, with good supports up to the ankle to allow the soldier to march long distances without getting tired.
b. Spiked: This was a benefit when standing on ground where the grip wasn’t the best. It allowed them to be firmly planted in that ground, and as a result, retain balance and stability. Also, not to be graphic, but the roman army would also use the spiked shoes to further trample their enemies who were already down. It was a way to keep their enemies down and under their feet.
Hopefully you can see how the proper shoes were essential protection for the soldier’s feet and allowed them to do the job set out for them. Without their shoes, they became a vulnerability to the whole team.
2) We need to protect our spiritual feet
This verse is not talking about going out and fitting our physical feet with the newest pair of New Balance or Brooks runners out there. It isn’t talking about putting on our work boots. It is referring to our spiritual feet. We are told to fit our feet with readiness… so being prepared. For what? To go out and represent Jesus in the battle.
The reason why we need to have our spiritual feet protected is that it is our spiritual feet that take out the message of Jesus Christ (the Gospel) to the world. As well, it is with our spiritual feet that we stand firm on as we fight the spiritual battle in front of us.
On both these fronts, the enemy would love to see us misstep. In fact, he will do whatever he can to try to spiritually trip you. Maybe it is falling down into a temptation that isn’t good for you. Maybe it is helping you walk down a path that takes you further away from God rather than closer to Him. Whatever it is, if he can cause you to stumble, he will. He is hoping that in doing so, we either potentially discredit the message we come to share or fall in battle (and get caught). But if our spiritual feet are prepared, we will be able to stand firm in the battle and share the message of Jesus.
3) It is the message of Jesus that protects our feet
Paul writes that the shoes that allow our spiritual feet to be ready and prepared for the battle comes from the Gospel – the good news, which is the message of Jesus.
The message of Jesus readies and prepares our spiritual feet in a couple ways:
a. It is strong and sturdy: As we walk our faith journey, as we live daily for Him, as we seek to share His message, and we do front line spiritual battle for Him, we will be walking on hazardous and dangerous ground. I already alluded to this in the last section, but there are things the enemy throws on the path in front of us that are meant to pierce us, to wound us, to stop us from walking forward. There are moments of life that will be rough and rocky. There are parts of our faith journey that will feel long. Yet, when we have our spiritual feet protected with the message and truth of Jesus Christ, much like the soldier who is protecting his feet going into battle, we do not have to fear that those things will bring us harm.
b. It has spikes: Much like the soldier who used the spikes on his shoes to help him grip what would otherwise be slippery ground, By wearing the message of Jesus on your spiritual feet, you have grip. You have a solid ground upon which to stand. When the enemy tries to knock you down, you can stand your ground and not fall over. Also, much like the troops who used their spikes to put their enemies under their feet,
when we put on the good news of Jesus, it allows you to move ahead in triumph over the enemy, and ‘put him under our feet’ in victory. SEE Rom 16:20.
Where we sometimes get it wrong though is that we think about how to wage that war and move forward all wrong. We forget that we don’t have to trample by force like the Romans did. In fact, for us it is quite the opposite. We wage our war and fight our battle through a campaign of peace. And it is through a campaign of peace that the enemy is put into defeat.
Our message is about being people who are at spiritual peace because we are at peace with God through Jesus. It is no mistake that Eph 6:15 refers to the Gospel as being one of peace. It is about how Jesus did the opposite of a typical conquest and actually gave up His life to achieve the victory. It is about how through what Jesus did, we can have peace with God through a fixed relationship with Him. Us being at peace with God is what robs the enemy of His power and puts the enemy under our feet (like Rom 16:20 mentions).
When we then go out to share the message of peace with others, the message that Jesus loves them so much that He gave up His life for them so that through receiving what He did for them and making Him the head of their lives that they could have their broken relationship with God and brokenness repaired, it intentionally advances us against our enemy and takes back the ground that he was trying to capture. Sharing the good news, the Gospel of peace through Jesus is what it is all about. SEE ISA 52:7.
I have two questions for you today:
1) Are you putting on your shoes? You say you follow Jesus. You say He is the head of your life. You say that you believe in Him and have taken His free gift of forgiveness. So, if that is you, are you putting on your shoes? There are so many Christians walking around in defeat… why is that? Are you protecting your spiritual feet as you advance against the enemy in this campaign of peace? Are you putting on your shoes so that you can be protected against the attacks meant to hurt your feet and keep you from marching ahead? Beyond that, are you putting on your shoes so that you can stand firm and not fall on ground that could be slippery (like temptations, areas of compromise, etc…)? Also, are you putting on your shows so that you can advance against the enemy and put him underfoot by sharing the message of peace that Jesus has given you to share? Put on your shoes and walk in victory.
2) Do you have shoes to put on? Do you follow Jesus? Truly? This is more than just going to church, being a spiritual person, being a good person. Do you know what it means to make Jesus the head of your life and receive the new life, the forgiveness, and the repairing that He offers? The truth is that until you follow Jesus, you can not put on the shoes of the Gospel of peace. They aren’t on your shoe shelf in your closet. Which means you are walking around in battle completely vulnerable, with an enemy who knows where you will step and is planting hazards underneath your foot. And without your shoes, there is no way you can stand firm against the enemy attacks… you have no grip on the slippery ground. And you don’t have what you need to have the enemy underfoot. So, are you going to go and get you some shoes?
hmcfamilychallenge (2 options)
1) Have a good ol’ balloon stomp. Take lots of pictures, and have fun together as a family. After, talk about how it helps you to know that you can have the enemy ‘under
2) Be a person of peace this week. Find someone that you can talk to, encourage, or do a random act of kindness that will share the Gospel of Peace. And after you are done, pray for that person that this act of peace will lead them closer to finding Jesus.