“And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:15-16
On the shoreline of China in 1932 stood a woman who had confidently picked up her shield of faith and pulled on the shoes of readiness from the gospel of peace that rang within her soul. Standing at only 4’10” Gladys Aylward, a simple parlor maid from Northern England, was about to usher in the Kingdom of God to entire regions of China. She had no money, no husband, and no training, yet her work in orphanages, prisons, and the political climate of China at that time transformed generations to come. How was this tiny remarkable woman about to make such lasting change? She had picked up her shield of faith. She had put on her shoes and was ready to bring the gospel of peace.
Gladys Aylward’s story deeply inspires me to answer God’s call on my life because I am equipped with the armor of God. Fear, doubt, shame, insecurity, and pride are all flaming arrows of the enemy who seeks to destroy you and me by distracting us. My fear tells me I will get hurt; my doubt tells me I can’t do it; my shame tells me I’m not good enough; insecurity tells me someone else will do it better; my pride tells me I could find better. These carefully aimed flaming missiles hit us right where it hurts, and cause us to turn away from the actual battle in order to put out the internal fires.
Paul is telling us how we can advance against the enemy today. You can extinguish the schemes of the devil to hurt and distract you right now by putting on the shoes of peace and picking up your shield of faith.
To know Jesus Christ is to know the gospel of peace. To believe in Jesus Christ is to have faith in his power. Paul is saying there is a readiness to go and faith do what the Lord has called of you that comes when the gospel of Jesus Christ has taken root in your soul.
With the shoes on and shield up we can align ourselves with the strategy of the Lord- the winning strategy of loving God and loving others- quickly and swiftly. His strategy is always the winning strategy! We are light on our feet with these shoes on, moving with agility to dodge the flaming arrows, not weighed down by our shame or pride.
These shoes can take us places only the Gospel can take us. In Psalm 18 David says, “you make my feet like the feet of a deer, you cause me to tread upon the heights.” This is where the shoes of readiness that comes from standing firm in the peace of Christ can take you. But it takes picking up the shield of faith to actually go do the work of the Kingdom. His calls always take faith to believe.
Sister, what does it look like today to pick up the shield of faith?
What internals fires are you trying to put out which distract you from the actual battle?
What does it look like today to be ready to go share our gospel of peace in your context?
There is an unseen world around us, one just beyond our eyesight. One with an enemy seeking to paralyze you, but one with a Savior who stands in supreme victory. When you answer the call of God on your life with readiness, walking in the peace that he is with you wherever you go, in whatever situation you are safe in the shadow of the Almighty.