Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:14–15—NKJV)

Emergency preparedness is the talk of the day with the coming hurricane season and the uncertainty of the times. Authentic believers have always been characterized by a keen eye on the future, a personal sense of purposeful duty from above, and a firm and familiar grasp of practical Bible application. It is highly natural for the believer to be ready to lend a listening ear when emergency preparedness is discussed.

It is very instructive that Paul unfolds his teaching on the believer’s readiness in the context of being armed with the whole armor of God. Paul wrote the words of our text while in prison and, with a ready illustration of Roman soldiers right before his eyes, he begins to write on Christian preparedness for heavenly duty, come what may.

The immediate context of our verse begins with verse 10 issuing a call to be continually strengthening yourself and be in the grip of the Lord’s power. This is both a physical and a mental preparedness, for the next verse speaks of the call to put on the whole armor of God so that the spiritual warrior may be able to stand against the wily, twisting, complicating stratagems of the slanderer and deceiver in chief, the Devil including all his evil minions, shadowy puppets and ventriloquised mouthpieces of darkness. This hand-to-hand “wrestling” is a battle for souls between the God of light and the Devil of darkness, all localized in the battleground of your daily life (verses 11–12).

Paul’s counsel for the Christian soldier in verse 13 is to make careful preparation to take on the full armor so that when the dust of conflict settles you have finished the battle and you remain standing as the victor. Standing is a key aspect of his whole instruction. The enemy would have you back on your heels, your feet slipping, your eyes diverted away from your main task of parrying and delivering blows, to looking after the sureness of your footing, giving the enemy the advantage. In verses 11–14 he orders that you “stand firm,” “stand your ground,” then again to “stand firm,” and finally he orders you to “stand therefore.” These orders inspire confidence for the strong soldier of Christ.

Such confidence comes from good generalship, good training, good strength, and good equipment. This brings us to the thought of the believer’s preparedness. Paul begins to list the equipment available to the Roman solder. There is the belt, the breastplate and the shoes. There is the shield, the helmet, and the sword.

Attention is given to the preparation of the shoes of the soldier. These were heavy leather sandals which required some personal effort to prepare. They were made of a leather upper specially fashioned to guard against chaffing but durable and functional. They also had an insole along with a heavy leather outer sole that could take and give punishment. The soldier would prepare his battle shoes by adding hob-nails to the sole, further strengthening the three parts of the shoe, giving greater durability to the shoe, adding traction and confidence on the battle field, enabling greater effect in using the feet as weapons, and giving a unique footfall when back in the city. Soldiers were sometimes offered an allowance in hobnails.

Paul styles the believer’s footgear the “Gospel of Peace.” It is the equipment for the warrior-believer who has experienced the peace of God (Ephesians 2:15, 17; Romans 5) which passes “all understanding.” It is the Good News that my sin has been forgiven through the only and final payment of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is the peace that arises from assurance of being reconciled to God by His sovereign grace. It is the peace that gives the clear eye and clear conscience, the courage, and the zeal to fight the good fight of faith until called home to glory. It is the peace that allows the soul to sing in the darkness and din “It Is Well with My Soul.”

With such footgear the believer can confidently stand in the fray and be found still standing when he finishes the battle. Have you “prepped your footgear” so that you can be sure-footed in the Gospel of Peace? Are you assured in the Gospel? Are you prepared for days of adversity? Trust and Obey.