Stand Firm: Shoes of Peace
Written by Stephanie Shouse
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. Ephesians 6:15 NLT
I love shoes! Cute Converse, sparkly flip-flops, sleek boots, a great pair of high heels… throw in a comfy pair of tennis shoes and I’m pretty much prepared for anything! I must confess that once while traveling to a three day women’s retreat, I packed seven pairs of shoes…yes, I was determined to be prepared for any shoe situation!
Did you notice how this verse links “shoes of the Gospel of peace” with “being fully prepared”? That’s not a coincidence. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to always be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about the reason for the hope that we have. The Gospel is our most important message, and we should always be prepared to share it with anyone God puts in our path! But there is a word that we often overlook in this verse: PEACE. The Gospel is powerful truth for everyone, but the way we share that Gospel is not one-size-fits-all. We must be prepared to share the Gospel in a way that brings peace to those who hear it.
Jesus preached the Gospel in many different ways. He told stories on the hillside, He tossed out cheaters in the temple, He sat at the table with sinners, He called out the self-righteous and He touched the untouchable. He was gentle, strong, bold, and kind. He did not waiver from the truth, but He was always aware of the needs of those hearing that truth. He modeled that though there is only one way to the Father, there are many ways to tell people about Him. That is what the Gospel of peace is all about. The Gospel promises to bring peace to the lives of those who accept it. We must make sure our proclamation of the Gospel doesn’t interfere with that promise.
Some of us leaders are stomping around in combat boots when soft slippers would work better, or we’re traipsing around in high heels when what we really need are some steel-toed shoes. Different people and situations call for different methods of communication. Growing up in church I learned a one-size-fits-all method of proclaiming the Gospel. It usually started out with “If you were to die today, do you think you would go to heaven?” That tactic might work in certain situations, but it didn’t create peace in my school’s room mom meetings or in line at the grocery store. The results were disastrous, and I became afraid to share the Gospel at all for fear of stepping on people’s toes. But this verse shows us that when we put on the shoes of the Gospel of peace, we can be fully prepared for anything. We need to seek God and ask Him to show us which shoes are appropriate for each situation. Should we put our foot down and boldly proclaim the truth? Or should we tread lightly and allow God to gently lead the person along? The Holy Spirit knows what is needed for each situation. When we rely on Him to lead us then we can share without fear knowing that it will be said of us “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News.” (Rom. 10:15)
What’s keeping you from sharing the Gospel of peace with those God has put in your path? Which “shoes” do you need to add to your wardrobe? How can you get prepared to share God’s Good News today?