Wearing The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace With a Side of Love
“and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
We know that wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace is for our benefit of having peace in troubling times. But what about the troubling times with others that we can sometimes get drawn into? Sometimes wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace can be a challenge in certain situations. When people’s ears are closed to the truth and are argumentative, it can be a challenge. When people are angry, frustrated or hurt, it can be a challenge. When there is animosity within a work place or family, it can be a challenge. In a war torn country, it can be a challenge. But we know that in Philippians 4:13 we are told that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Jesus had to wear the shoes of the gospel of peace in His day when He was speaking with the people about God. He was met with animosity and sometimes fear from not only the people He tried to help but from the religious leaders such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees who should have known better but who suffered from religiousness. We now know that religiousness can blind people from the truth and make it difficult to reach them, but not impossible. We simply do what Jesus did when faced with difficult people…we listen, continue to love and supply the truth from the Word of God. Some will receive it and some will not. For those who refuse to receive it, we can only pray for them.
Jesus didn’t waste His time arguing about things that didn’t matter and He didn’t continue arguing His case with others to prove He was right. He said what He needed to say and continued on. When we are right about something (or think we are) we can tend to argue our case until the other person relents or admits we are right. We become prideful when we feel the need to continue proving we are right and therefore lose the shoes of the gospel of peace. Jesus didn’t allow the distractions of life to pull Him away from His work and He didn’t allow people to cause Him to become an emotional wreck. He had one purpose in mind…get the word out to the people about God and save them. Jesus kept His focus and allowed nothing to sway or destroy His faith. Sometimes we can get caught up in the drama of others or allow our emotions to rule us when we are faced with difficult situations or people. Fear and intimidation can face us and we can tend to become defensive. We must realize that wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace doesn’t always mean we must talk. Sometimes just listening to others as they vent or lending a hand in a difficult time can bring peace into someone’s life. At work that may mean we might have to pick up the slack a bit for a co-worker who seems to be going through a troubling time. For family, it may mean we supply a listening ear or help them out when we see they are under stress and when necessary, speak the truth lovingly though it may hurt or anger them for a moment.
When wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace, we must combine it with love. In 1 Peter 4:8 it states:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
When we show people enough love, it can break through the wall they have built up within themselves. However, there are times it may not be received. Jesus showed love and brought peace wherever He went. If there was any animosity wherever He was, it was because people could not face the truth and in some cases feared Him, were intimidated by Him or were jealous of Him. Some would go so far as to chase Him out of town or would do what they could to quiet Him and that included spreading lies about Him and planning a way to kill Him. When people fear the truth or fear God, they will do what they can to quiet the one speaking it. When someone brings peace, some people will counter with it with chaos. When someone brings love, others will counter with hate and sarcasm. This is because the light of Christ in one person is facing the darkness in the other person and a spiritual battle is going on. The strategy of the enemy is to bring the person who is wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace into war with him through that angry person. When this happens, they are no longer battling on God’s turf but the enemy’s turf and now are using the enemy’s weapons…anger, animosity, pride, etc. The enemy’s goal is to rip off your shoes of the gospel of peace so you have no protective covering in your walk and therefore are ineffective in your mission for Christ. It is also to discredit you so you aren’t believed when you speak about Christ.
Although wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace can be challenging at times, God will supply you with the power to continue you on in the walk if you stay close to Him on a daily basis through prayer, reading the Bible and through worship. Jesus always took the time every day to get with God because He knew He needed recharging. He was able to endure the temptations of the enemy while fasting in the desert because He had that connection with His heavenly Father at all times.
When you are trying to wear the shoes of the gospel of peace in a difficult situation, pray for God’s wisdom and He will give it to you:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Don’t feel discouraged if you are met with animosity and anger. These are defensive modes we all get at times when we feel we are right, are hurt or are frustrated. Pray for wisdom on what to do and God will give it to you. This may simply mean listening to someone. And if we feel our own emotions rising up, wisdom may come simply by taking a step back to avoid adding fuel to the fire which is what the enemy wants us to do. It doesn’t mean we are weak or backing down. It simply means we are choosing to disengage from a battle that may damage another person. It takes a stronger person to keep their cool and remain silent during a heated moment instead of opening our mouths and spewing poisonous words.
We know from Jesus example and the examples of all who have followed Christ, that it takes great strength and wisdom to walk wearing the shoes of the gospel of peace. It’s not easy to bring peace in a heated situation. But when we stay close to God, He will supply us with the strength, wisdom and enough love and endurance to wear the shoes and keep them on. The more we walk in our shoes of the gospel of peace, the more they will become a perfect fit on our feet and stay securely on.