In his description of a believer’s spiritual armor, the Apostle Paul oddly refers to shoes.
“and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Ephesians 6:15 NASV)
Compared to the breast-plate or shield, shoes are certainly not the most prominent piece of armor, but don’t let their insignificance fool you, they are key to a believer’s victory.
The Roman soldier was equipped with sandal-like boots covered with brass that extended up to cover part of the shin. The sandals had nails protruding from the bottom giving the soldier extra grip.
Though a wound to the foot or lower leg was not necessarily life threatening it was very incapacitating. My son was practicing soccer in our backyard gearing up for a series of big games. He kicked the soccer ball near a, until then unknown, hornet’s nest. He received a single, barely visible bite on his ankle and was off his feet for days.
The smallest wound on the foot can hobble a soldier for extended periods of time making him completely ineffective for fighting.
When Paul compares these boots to the preparation of the gospel of peace and he is quoting from Isaiah 52:7, which declares how lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace.
This verse pictures messengers being sent from the battle back to the city announcing the enemy had been vanquished and the people were now set free from their imprisonment or captivity (see also Isaiah 61: 1-3).
This is the incredible truth of the New Testament. Every New Testament writer agreed on this single fact – Satan is a defeated foe. Yet, as we look around the earth, Satan’s hold is still clearly in effect.
The apostle John explains what has happened. He writes that the Son of God appeared to “destroy” the works of the devil.
8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NASV)
The word destroy “luo” has several meanings. The most obvious is the idea of destruction or obliteration. But the word also has a second usage: it means to break a contract so that an individual is no longer legally bound to its conditions.
Though many translations use the word destroy, it leaves the wrong impression, because Satan’s kingdom has not been destroyed. It is still very much alive and well on planet earth.
However, because of Christ’s work on the cross, Satan’s power to control, manipulate and seduce people has been destroyed. This idea is pounded home in Hebrews 2:14, 15 where the writer says, that Christ “rendered powerless (Greek largeo) him who had the power of death.”
Some versions have translated this verse as destroyed, but NASV is more accurate when it translates “largeo” as “render powerless” as the word means to neutralize, to make impotent, subdue or to bring into subjection.
Because of the cross, Satan’s power has been rendered ineffective. But only in the face of the cross does this happen. When not confronted with Christ’s authority, Satan is still a well-armed and dangerous opponent.
Most importantly, these verses outline one vital part of this battle and that is perspective – we must fight from the higher ground understanding that Satan is a defeated foe.
We are not just wearing the sandals of peace, we are wearing shoes of victory.
At every turn, Satan will try to challenge that truth. He will challenge your position in Christ and test how much you really believe this.
If the father of all lies can cause you to question your victory, then you are walking down the road to defeat. The smallest wound of doubt will incapacitate you.