Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. (2 Tim. 3:15-16 NRSV).
The third piece of God’s armor is our spiritual shoes of readiness. The word readiness implies eagerness, preparedness, and vigilance. The Roman soldier, if he wanted to be victorious had to be ready for battle. What soldier would go out onto the battlefield without his shoes! A soldier missing his shoes reveals he’s not ready. It also reveals he has compromised his position in a battle. The enemy will immediately know that without shoes this soldier will stumble. The point is, in the heat of the battle and without shoes, a soldier can’t be worried about what he might step on.
It is said that the sandals of the Roman soldier were fitted with nails or spikes to give them a firm hold in the ground while fighting his enemy. Thus shoes were the means to maintain a firm foundation. It means we are ready to go, to move forward, without fear of what we may encounter in the battle of life.
Physical Shoes to Spiritual Shoes
Since Christians are God’s soldiers, we are to wear spiritual shoes because we fight a spiritual battle. If we’re ready for battle, we must also know our enemy and his plans of attack. We must have our own battle plan and remain strong and confident. We must have a firm footing so we can hold our ground. We’re sunk if we fall to the ground in battle without our physical shoes on. But what is the connection between physical shoes and spiritual shoes of the gospel of peace? The gospel of course, is the good news of God’s Kingdom. God’s church must be ready to go into the world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are wearing our spiritual shoes, we are ready with the gospel and we do so with the understanding that we are under attack from Satan.
One of Satan’s flaming arrows is doubt. He’ll get us to doubt ourselves, our purpose, our skills, our profession, our choices. We may question our station in life. “Is the military lifestyle really worth it? As a military wife, you may ask yourself, do my contributions make a difference? “What if this happens or that happens…” When flaming arrows of doubt hit our heart, we must dig our spiritual shoes of readiness deeper into God’s Word regardless of fear. Satan knows that self-doubt is a powerful strategy. However, self-doubt is a mute-point in the gospel of peace because our salvation and position as child of God are not based on our skills or how creditable we are.
When Satan shoots arrows of self-doubt, fire back with God’s Word: “We [I] know that all things work together for [my family’s] good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28 NRSV). When Satan pulls back his bow and shoots the arrow of resentment over another deployment looming, respond with, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), or “The joy of the Lord is my strength,” (Nehemiah 8:10).
In short, wearing our shoes gives us the ability to step unfettered and without dread, distress, or anxiety, while we focus on our spiritual battles.