And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
I must admit, I found this piece of armor to be the most perplexing and obscure of them all. My mind immediately referenced Romans 10:15, "...how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace..." and paralleled "shod" with preparing the way for the gospel. But, as we examine each piece of armor, they are presented as state of being, not a function. So, the Romans 10 parallel is inaccurate. Taking note that this is the only time in the New Testement that the word "preparation" is used, we will find this particular piece of armor to be of special significance. With armor's purpose implying war, we first uncover that war must often precede peace.
If you were to take a look at the sandals of a soldier during this period in history, you would find they were much more than a piece of flimsy material. These were heavy duty material, studded with nails, that allowed a soldier to have a strong foothold as he stood his ground. In order to have peace, we must stand for peace, plant our feet, and refuse to grant the enemy what is rightfully ours. No enemy, whether human or spiritual, can take your peace; only you can decide to give it away.
In this passage, the word gospel (euaggelion) doubles in implication, pointing both toward salvation and its common meaning of "glad tidings." The word peace (eirēnē) is both the peace of God, and tranquility between individuals. Understanding the etymology allows us to see that those who wear the armor of God stand firm in pursuit of peace. Peace both with God, and with man. To surrender our peace to the enemy is to render every other piece of armor useless as our life goes crashing to the ground. The WHOLE armor was given to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND. Each piece of armor is built upon our stand.
Satan and those he influences march in opposition of peace, because peace can only come from God; and God is not the author of confusion. Take for example the demoniac of Gadara in Mark 5. Here we find a man in torment. By virtue of his description, he serves as the polar opposite of peace. Parallel passages in the gospels indicate that no man could bind him, so they ceased from passing that way. Jesus brought to this man the gospel, and the city came out to find him at peace. Logic would suggest this city would be excited to know a threat no longer existed in their lives. Rather, a city of people who knew not the gospel of peace requested Jesus depart from their coasts. What they could not control, they chose to ignore, until God supplied peace. Those who have no peace cannot tolerate those who do. In fact, it scares them.
Daily we must prepare and secure our feet on the foundation of the gospel, knowing that the enemy will strive to rob us of our peace. The greater your peace, the greater the battle. My great-grandfather used to tell me every Sunday morning as he shined my shoes and his, "you can tell a lot about a man's character by looking at his shoes." Though this made little sense upwards into my 8 years of knowing him, I now fully grasp the spiritual depth of his astute observation. It is more than scuffs or polish. If a man's feet are quick to spread discord, his mission is not of the Lord.
Daily there rages a war against peace; desiring each piece of you. Your mission is simple, to stand; Don't retreat. Each moment, put on that shoe.