In Ephesians 6:15, Paul tells us:
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In order for us to really understand this verse, I think we need to dissect it first. Let’s start from the beginning.
According to Merriam-Webster, a shoe is “an outer covering for the human foot,” or “a metal plate or rim for the hoof of an animal.” In other words, it is protection for feet. Our feet are sensitive, and sticks, stones, and other debris (like Legos!) can cause us serious pain when stepped on.
And what do feet do? They take us everywhere we need to go. If we’re walking around everywhere without shoes on, we are in for quite a painful journey if the road isn’t smooth.
If we add this to the armor analogy, we are protecting the feet that take us places in battle. If we do not wear our spiritual shoes, we are not fully prepared to face the “sticks and stones” that are thrown in front of us throughout the day.
Why shoes of peace?
Let’s not leave out the important word here. The important part of wearing the shoes is “peace.” So what is peace?
In the Old Testament, the word for peace, shalom, is used to express completeness, welfare, health, a being at ease, wholeness, and harmony. Shalom is used 237 times in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, the word eirene is used, and it occurs in every book of the New Testament with the exception of 1 John. The usage of the word in the New Testament is used to describe harmonious relationships between men and nations, friendliness, order, and the harmonized relationships between God and man that are available through the gospel, as well as the sense of rest and contentment that we receive through these relationships.
More recently, Merriam-Webster has defined peace as:
1: a state of tranquility or quiet:
a: freedom from civil disturbance
b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3: harmony in personal relations
4 a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments
b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a
state of enmity
5: used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
I know it really sounds like a lot to wear peace. I mean, if we stick with the definitions, that means we have to be friendly, have order, have harmonized relationships with God and others, completeness, welfare, wholeness, harmony… Whew!
So again, why shoes of peace? Because putting on that order—that completeness, and having an attitude of harmony at the beginning of the day will help you handle those “sticks and stones” that are thrown your way. That healthy attitude of peace cushions and protects you from the things that could destroy your day.
What peace comes with the Good News?
Well, to understand this question, first you need to understand what the Good News is. What is “The Good News?” It’s the gospel! It means that:
…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
This means that we should have peace of heart and peace of mind just knowing that, having accepted Christ into your life, you have received forgiveness and are now reconciled with God.
Are you excited?? I am excited.
How does the peace that comes from the Good News fully prepare us?
I know I have said this before, but we’re going to keep going back to it. You need to be prepared for the devil’s attacks on you. He will constantly barrage you with lies and temptation, so you must be fully prepared to counter his attacks at all time. The Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ is what gives us the peace that we need, which cushions and protects us throughout the day.
So, then, how do I get prepared?
Ask God for help. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
James 3:17-18 connects wisdom with peace for us:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
So when you ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you. His wisdom will lead you to peaceful behaviors. So are you going to just feel peaceful over night? No. (Believe me, I’ve been working on it for a while.) How do you get peace?
Peace is a gift
Let me first just say that you can’t buy peace, just like you can’t buy happiness. You can’t earn peace. Peace is a gift from Jesus. He wants you to be at peace in your mind and in your heart and specifically tells us not to be troubled or afraid. Here it is, in John 14:27:
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
When you remember that this gift of peace is freely given to us with the direction not to be troubled or afraid, it’s easier to accept that you can’t come up with peace on your own free will. With the grace of God, you can accept His gift and wear it wherever you go.
However. After you accept the gift of peace, you need to use it. And how you use it is by applying it to your thought life.
Applying the gift of peace to your thought life
I believe 100% that peace begins with our thought lives. Like the definition from Merriam-Webster, peace is also “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” Remember those lies I told you that Satan would try to feed you? And how we need to be fighting with the truth always? We have the ability to choose whether or not we are at peace.
I probably sound like a hypocrite to some people when I say that, because I’m not really anywhere close to being the poster child for positive thought. Like to the extent that I wear off on my kids. Just this morning, I was telling my darling, sleepy, cranky, grumpy-attitude 8-year old that she needed to take those negative thoughts and turn them around.
I admitted it to her—that I have that problem too. But I also told her that every time a negative thought comes up, we need to counter it with a positive thought. And that as she did, I would try to do it too, and we would see how we did at the end of the day. So far so good for me. (Today anyway. I’m not always good at that, but you know what they say: “practice makes perfect.”)
One of the first things we must do when find ourselves without peace is to examine our thought lives. Ask yourself: “Where are my thoughts?” “Are my thoughts on God and peace? Or are my thoughts on circumstances and the things around me?”
Romans 8:6 says, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
Likewise, Proverbs 14:30 says that “a peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.”
Which do you prefer? Death? Or life and peace? Take inventory of your thought life, and adjust it accordingly. When you do so, you will find life in your thoughts, which will in turn give peace to the rest of your body.