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Shod Your Feet
Eph. 6:13, 15 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. . . 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace . . ..
Ps. 18: 35-38 . . . you never cease to listen to me, you give me the strides of a giant, give me ankles that never weaken.
I pursue my enemies and overtake them, not turning back till they are annihilated; I strike them down and they cannot rise, they fall, they are under my feet.
To the warriors of ancient times, the importance of good foot protection and the benefits thereof were foundational. Often, the troops would doff many pieces of their armor before resting for a period, but the protection for the feet was seldom removed. It was common for the foot soldiers to keep their campaign boots on for weeks at a time while in hostile territory. Even if caught unarmed and shield-less, a shod warrior could quickly outdistance an armed assailant, while one caught asleep and barefoot would be easily run down and killed.
Once his undergarments were donned, the preparation of the Warrior in donning the rest of his armor was traditionally and often ritualistically performed. Always beginning with the shoeing of the feet, and continued to the anointing of the shield and blessing of the sword, all preparations must be completed before reporting for duty. The armor was conscientiously put on in a specific sequence to assure that no belt would slip, nor straps free thus jeopardizing one’s protection in a time of need. It is what a soldier wears on his feet that primarily determines whether or not he can continue to march, hold his ground, and confidently pursue the enemy over difficult terrain without fear of slipping or being harmed by rough or uneven ground, to say nothing of a battlefield prepared by the enemy.
Today when we refer to a “well-heeled gentleman” we refer to a man whose shoes are in good condition, showing little wear on the bottom. This term generally refers to someone of some social standing, typically in a position of authority and financially secure. This is a person “prepared to take on the world.” Spiritually this could represent someone with “No holes in the ‘Soul’.” A well “Souled” Warrior is one able to stand his ground, do his best and, having resisted all, TO STAND. He can confidently withstand the enemy knowing he has been fully prepared for the fight. To engage effectively in combat, well-heeled boots are essential. This gives a certain “all terrain ability” to the Warrior to fight the battle wherever it may lead. The feet were shod in such a way so as not to hinder swift movement or speedy marching.
The bearing of Peace brings joy to the heart and a spring to the step. Rather than a burden, the bearing of Peace is a pleasure, as easy to bear as a comfortable pair of shoes.
The importance of good footing in time of conflict should be immediately apparent. Without gaining purchase on the ground you stand on, you may be easily shoved aside, or pushed over. A Warrior with poor footing is truly “a push over.” No matter how desperate the situation, it would be impossible to hold ground or maintain your position. The problem is not unlike trying to ride a horse without stirrups. The simple addition to the saddle of the stirrups made it possible for a mounted rider to maintain balance better, control the horse better, and have greater impact upon the enemy. Until the Romans invented the stirrup, the force delivered in a cavalry charge was substantially reduced as the rider could not brace for impact and deliver a full blow. More often than not, it was the size and mass of the charging horse impacting and running down the unfortunate footman that did the job. Even if the rider carried a spear, as soon as he tried to thrust forcibly with it while mounted, he stood a great chance of being thrown from his horse, for he had no way to brace himself. It was common practice to thrust and release the weapon just before impact to avoid the possibility of one being thrown by the impact. The use of the stirrup gained a sound stature in the saddle for the rider, and allowed the force of impact of a charge to be carried through the saddle and tack to the horse. With the use of stirrups, the full charging energy of a horse and rider could be transmitted by the rider into the enemy, while the shock of impact was easily borne by the rider and transmitted to the horse through the saddle and tack. This changed things considerably, and the force of a cavalry charge gained a new respect. Even the wary foot soldier could not stand against such an onslaught. By direct comparison, he didn’t have the “mount” or “support” to hold his ground against such an attack. It would take another mounted warrior to even up the stakes or “put things on an even footing.”
Good footing is essential for a Warrior to hold his ground when pressed upon by the enemy. Think of how difficult it is to push a car on pavement if you are wearing slick soled shoes. You can push and push, and all that happens is that your feet slide out from under you. You cannot transmit any energy into the car thus pushing it anywhere due to the simple fact you are not gaining a good footing. If the situation were to face you while wearing sneakers, the result would be somewhat different. Actually, while you may require several people to help push the car if you all wore shoes, you may find that you could push the car alone while wearing sneakers. The simple explanation for this is the softer sole of the sneakers allows you to get more traction with the pavement. You might say that good footwear “gains purchase” of the ground. Having gained purchase, one can “take more ground,” or “purchase more ground.”
For the above reason, a foot soldier’s boots are typically covered with a pliable sole, with many ripples or ridges on it to gain more traction on a wide variety of surfaces. The Romans understood the importance of good footing, and how to achieve it. They developed for their Legionaries the first of the “campaign boots” to be worn by soldiers of their day. These boots, or “caligae” as they are called, were hobnailed so as the soldiers could gain a purchase on the sod underfoot. The exposed knobby surface of the caligae allowed the soldier to dig into the surface of the ground he trod on and allowed him to easily climb up steep grades or hold back the force of the enemy on slick surfaces such as wet grass, or gore-covered ground. They offered the same types of advantages to the Roman soldiers as cleats on athletic shoes today offer athletes in sports such as football or baseball. In both of these sports, the ability of the athlete to stay on his feet is of paramount importance. Also, the hobnails could help prevent a soldier from being dragged away by the enemy (Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evildoers . . .. Ps. 28:3.). Wearing footwear of this type imparted a tremendous advantage to a soldier.
The caligae were sandals cut from a single piece of leather, and were laced above the ankle. It was no simple matter to put these on or take them off for that matter, as the lacing would take several minutes to complete. Being so secured gave the Roman soldier confidence knowing that his boots would remain on his feet and not slip off or shift on his feet when he most needed a sound footing. They offered the soldier support for his ankles much as the combat boots of today do. Anyone who has ever attempted ice-skating can attest to the advantage gained by good ankle support. In hand-to-hand combat, it is very important to remain on one’s feet, and good strong ankle support is a definite plus. So then, let us be always seeking the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another. Rom. 14:19.
Another protection offered by the caligae was gained by the multi-layering of the sole. These multiple layers of thick leather made it safe for the Roman soldiers to march over sharp rocky terrain without the fear of stone bruises to their feet. Surely, most of us at one time or another has experienced the difficulty of running on loose rocky terrain, or through the woods with many fallen limbs on the ground. The ankle support offered by good footwear could prevent turning an ankle under such conditions when a rock or piece of wood shoots out from underfoot. But what about that stub or sharp rocks projecting from the ground that you tread on? If this should happen while bare-foot or wearing anything but the sturdiest footwear, a stone bruise or worse is likely the result. He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the mud of the mire. He set my feet on rock, and made my footsteps firm. Ps. 40:2.
It was common practice for the Romans to deploy caltrops on the battlefield to additionally handicap the enemy. A caltrop is a four pronged metal object much like a child’s jack. When tossed to the ground, they always present a vertical prong. Another type of caltrop was a simple metal hook imbedded in a chunk of wood with a barb exposed and placed in a hole or depression in the ground. Caltrops were suitable for deployment against enemy foot soldiers as well as mounted troops. If the Romans were to deploy caltrops, it would be imperative not to handicap their own troops and allow them free movement on the battlefield at the same time. The Romans were the masters of battle field preparations such as these. The caligae was again the solution. While their enemies would occasionally fashion a surprise of their own, the solid supportive protection the Caligula offered the Roman soldiers often minimized the effects of these snares. To you, Yahweh, I turn my eyes, in you I take refuge, do not leave me unprotected. Save me from the traps that are set for me, the snares of evildoers. Let the wicked fall each into his own net, while I pass on my way. Ps. 141:8-10.
Following are a few examples of scriptures, which relate to the power of God’s peace and the blessings that will follow those who carry our Lord’s message. Being a bearer of God’s peace may derive many more benefits, but these quotes will give the reader some excellent examples of the immediate blessings God will bestow upon the Warrior bearing His words of peace. Some scriptures refer to the gospel of the word as the gospel of peace or the gospel of Truth. Truth is a thing that is undeniable. It is stubbornly unshakeable and nothing can dislodge the Truth. The phrases “God’s Word” and “God’s Truth” are often used interchangeably. Truth, as a separate piece of armor, will be discussed in the next chapter.
Please bear in mind as you continue throughout the following chapters that the scriptures here included are not intended to be the complete compilation of pertinent scriptures, and as you continue, you are encouraged to continue each thread in your own reference bible to find more revealing scriptures.
The principles at work here are the bearing of God’s peace, the willingness to do so, and the actual act of doing so. With this in mind, the protections derived from this mindset and outward action would include sound footing, protection, strength, support, sure-footedness and speed. Let us look first at the assurances of peace and protection in bearing Gods peace and love.
1 Cor. 14:33 . . . for God is a God not of disorder but of peace. Note: Recognizing this makes His orders easy to hear and discern. . . a definite plus in the turmoil of battle.
Eph. 2:12-13 . . . you that used to be far off have been brought close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one entity and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart . . . This is another form of mutual support which is gained by Gods peace...unity!
Ps. 25:10 Kindness unfailing and constancy mark all Yahweh’s paths, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. Our God is easy to understand, He is unchanging and dependable. Following His decrees, allow us the full and unlimited blessings of our Lord.
Phil. 4:6-9 Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire- with whatever is good and praiseworthy. Keep doing everything you learned from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing. Then the God of Peace will be with you.
When our minds are filled in this manner rather than with worries and concerns, doesn’t that put us at peace? Reread the first sentence of this scripture.
1 Thess. 5:14-24 Be at peace among yourselves. We urge you, brothers, to admonish those who are undisciplined, encourage the apprehensive, support the weak and be patient with everyone. Make sure that people do not try to repay evil for evil; always aim at what is best for each other and for everyone. Always be joyful; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Spirit or despise the gift of prophecy with contempt; test everything and hold on to what is good and shun every form of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may your spirit, life, and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who has called you is trustworthy and will carry it out.
This is a powerful assurance. The above advice shows many of the hallmark characteristics of the Warrior.
Col. 3:11-17 . . . the holy people whom He loves, you are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, put on love, the perfect bond. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together in one body. Always be thankful.
Bearing a heart willing to make amends will avail us of the goodness, which comes from forgiveness.
Rom. 16:16-18 Greet each other with the holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send their greetings. I urge you, brothers, be on your guard against the people who are out to stir up disagreements and bring up difficulties against the teaching which you learned. Avoid them. People of that sort are servants not of our Lord Christ, but of their own greed; and with talk that sounds smooth and reasonable they deceive the minds of the unwary. This is a lesson in discernment, as well as brotherly-love.
The above scriptures show us those bearing peace and love carry a responsibility to act in other ways as well, and that acting in such a fashion will bring blessings to us. In studying the actions called for in the above scriptures, it is apparent that many of the characteristics of the warrior are being called upon.
By following the above advice, there is the added benefit of strength being given to those carrying peace:
Ps. 29:11 Yahweh will give strength to his people, Yahweh blesses his people with peace.
Ps. 23:4 Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side. This is the strength of confidence from faith in divine protection and guidance.
Ps. 27:3 Though an army pitch camp against me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, my trust will never be shaken. No Worries . . .nothing but confidence.
Ps. 28:3 “Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evildoers, who talk to their partners of peace with treachery in their hearts.”
John 16:32 When you are going to be scattered, each going his own way and leaving me alone. And yet I am not alone. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have hardship, but be courageous: I have conquered the world. These words of Jesus carry an additional element of perseverance and doggedness.
1 Sam. 2:9-10 He safeguards the steps of his faithful but the wicked vanish in darkness; for human strength can win no victories. Yahweh, his enemies are shattered, the Most High thunders in the heavens. We can rely on the power and might of Almighty God.
Isa. 43:5-6 Why be so downcast, why all these sighs? Hope in God! I will praise him still, my Savior, my God. When I am downcast I think of you . . .. These words offer strength and an uplifting of the spirit for those times when we may despair or feel downtrodden.
Ps. 18:33-34, 36 . . . who makes me as swift as a deer and sets me firmly on the heights, who trains my hands for battle, my arms to bend a bow of bronze . . . you give me the strides of a giant, give me ankles that never weaken. This scripture speaks of the strength of position, support, discipline, speed, and brawn.
Now that we understand it is God’s peace and love which directs our actions and offers us strength, it is important to realize His protection and “footing” will always be made available to us also. The following scriptures take the element of protection and guidance hinted at in some of the above scriptures and brings them more clearly to mind. These are powerful principles, and when acted upon, the following vantage points will be seen as invaluable:
Ps. 143:10 Rescue me from my enemies, Yahweh, since in you I find protection. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your generous spirit lead me on even ground.
Ps. 116:7-8 My heart, be at peace once again, for Yahweh has treated you generously. He has rescued me from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
Ps. 119:109-110 My life is in your hands perpetually, I do not forget your Law. The wicked have laid out a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Thus, the snares will not catch me, if we stay mindful of God’s precepts.
Ps. 91:10-13 No disaster can overtake you, no plague come near your tent; He has given his angels orders about you to guard you wherever you go. They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone. You will walk upon wild beast and adder, you will trample young lions and snakes. Do you get the feeling of an indomitable spirit in these words?
Prov. 4:18-19 The path of the upright is like the light of dawn, its brightness growing to the fullness of day; the way of the wicked is as dark as night, they cannot tell the obstacles they stumble over.
Ps. 17:5-7 . . . my steps never stray from the paths you lay down, from your tracks; so my feet never stumble. I call upon you, God, for you answer me; turn your ear to me, hear what I say. Show the evidence of your faithful love, savior of those who hope in your strength against attack. Here we see surefootedness and direction expressed.
I think it only fitting that spreading God’s peace provide the spiritual armor for our feet and legs. In a time before postal service and mass transit, when one went most anywhere by foot, unless one was of such status to own a horse, we had just our two legs to take us where we wanted to go. Without the use of both of them, spreading God’s peace can be somewhat difficult. Our two legs may be seen as representing “Willingness and Doing.” It is not enough to have the willingness to fight the Lord’s fights when directed- we must Fight Them. To be an obedient servant of the Lord, it is important to do the doing, and do so happily and willingly. An act of charity or compassion is much more productive when the heart of the Warrior is compliant and willing to do whatever directed. If willingness is absent, carelessness is bound to manifest itself. One’s mind may not be on the task, and rather than be seen as one that is truly caring, one may be seen as disinterested and just going though the motions. But you must do what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves. Anyone who listens to the Word and takes no action is like someone who looks at his own features in a mirror and once he had seen what he looks like, goes off and immediately forgets it. But anyone who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and keeps to it--not listening and forgetting, but putting it into practice--will be blessed in every undertaking.
1 John 3:18-19, 21-25.
The aspects of character which will lend support and aid in developing the spiritual principles of spreading God’s peace include: nobility, trustworthiness, humility, willingness and doing, doggedness/ persistence. Several secondary characteristics have already been shown to benefit from spreading the Gospel of Peace. When the following characteristics are developed and applied, additional support and strength will be added to bolster up the armor of our feet and legs.
Noble is the warrior who professes peace, a cause much more beneficial than the cause of war. To bring peace about is always much more difficult than to start a war, for greed and discontent most often direct the actions of man. The number of notable peacemakers around the world pales compared to the number of warmongers. After all, the Noble Peace Prize is awarded to an individual who has displayed extraordinary skills and ability to create peace. There are no rewards for those who start wars, no matter how good they may be at it, what good may come of it, or how noble the cause. The noble actions of the peacemakers make us all feel a little taller, a little prouder to be human. In the words of our Lord himself: 9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matt. 5:9.
Trustworthy is the Warrior who is willing to do what is bid of him, and does so. When called to action as a peacemaker and one fulfills the task, one is pronounced dependable, an aspect of character which serves to support trustworthiness. There is a certain amount of reliance that can be placed on one shown to be dependable, and trustworthy. To individuals such as this will fall the special duties and assignments for the King, for they have shown they can be relied on much as a warrior must learn to rely on his armor. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Matt. 25:21.
A humble spirit is much preferred to haughtiness. The advice and words of one who is humble are much more likely to be given attention over one displaying arrogance. Humility shows an understanding of things which are above oneself, and is represented by a meek spirit. A Warrior, by not putting on airs and putting himself above others, shows a certain amount of humility and meekness. This is an extension of the devotion to a greater cause Warriors believe in and subject themselves to. Remember what our Lord said about a meek spirit: 5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matt. 5:5.
Prov. 15:18 The hot-headed provokes disputes, the equable allays dissension.
Being shod with the protection, which emanates from carrying the message of peace, a Warrior is more disposed to pursue the cause of peace with dogged persistence and perseverance than an individual who questions his footing and whether he has the proper stance for an endeavor. If you were dashing barefoot through a field and came to the sudden realization that the field through which you were running was covered with broken glass, I doubt that you would continue to charge right on ahead without a care. Now, if you knew you were properly prepared for such a situation, your dash would be unimpeded. Just imagine being well shod, and in pursuit of the enemy who was barefoot when you noticed the glass-strewn field. Without a doubt, the enemy you pursue will be brought to heel. Being well-heeled undoubtedly lends much to the willingness of the spirit to pursue a task, and knowing the security, strength and protection with which you move serves to make the doing much less daunting.
Now how exactly do we don this fine protection, you may be asking yourself . . . It’s not very hard at all. Reflect on the aspects of character just discussed and how they are reflected and related to the message of Peace. Developing and expressing these traits will bind you with the attributes of our Lord’s Peace.
By being noble in spirit and being kind when you don’t think you have to be, or just admitting you may have made a mistake rather than presenting a terse confrontational demeanor, you will not only go a long way towards promoting peace, but in the eyes of your peers you will be seen as a much greater person.
Keeping your word and keeping your promise is an excellent way of building up your trustworthiness in the eyes of those that know you, and keeping the peace. Holding your tongue rather than lashing out at someone, and not engaging in gossip are also good ways of showing a developed and disciplined character. Not only will it raise your self esteem, but you will gain the confidence of others. Likewise, keeping your confidence and not disclosing what has been placed in your care are also sure ways of showing you are dependable and reliable.
“Find the good in a bad situation,” “there is a silver lining in every cloud,” are expressions we have all heard growing up, but have you ever really dwelt on what these words promote? Do you practice this sage advice? Have you ever suggested these comments to someone else in a time of trouble?
A kind word at a time when emotions are getting heated will serve to diffuse potentially volatile situations, and insisting that others raise themselves a little above the moment will show you to be thoughtful and concerned for all. A mild answer turns away wrath, sharp words stir up anger. Prov. 15:1. Placing the ideals you believe in above your personal agenda will define that which is truly most important to you. This will be apparent to those around you as well. In much the same way, when you have devoted yourself to an effort and expressed your willingness to do a certain thing, by following up without the prompting of others you will have shown yourself to be more than a mouthpiece. Who would ever have cause to come to you at a later time and say, “Put up or shut up,” or “Put your money where your mouth is?” In other words, just do not say you will do something, DO IT. It is important you do what you say you will, to the best of your ability. Just attempt, for you never truly know what you are capable of accomplishing unless you try. Failing doesn’t matter; just do the best you can . . . always. If you fall short of the mark, try again. Although you may fail at an endeavor, at least it will be said of you that you tried. It is important to make the efforts even when there are no witnesses, YOU are there, and so is our Lord. The eyes of Yahweh are everywhere: observing the wicked and the good. Prov. 15:3.
These are just some of the ways that you can apply the spiritual principles of peace. You may never know the impact these simple acts have on others, or who may come to your assistance in a time of need just because you followed these principles at some time. I am sure you have been affected by such actions on the part of others at some time in your life. Reflect on one, and what influences it had on your life.
With the Lord’s peace directing us and willingly acting under His direction, we shall not stumble, our journey will be swift, our way always brightly lit, and we shall not fail. What better bedrock is there to STAND FIRM on?
This is but the first piece of God’s armor we are to don. With our feet securely protected, we can confidently continue to arm ourselves resting in the comfort and knowledge that our ways are directed and protected from the ground up. Once the feet are secured, the preparations of the Warrior continue with the belting of the undergarments and securing of the straps leading to the harness.
The topic of the next chapter is:
“The Belt of Truth”
 Caligula was the Roman Emperor of the time who made the sandals fashionable, and by some accounts, had them designed for his troops to wear.
 By no means should the reader assume that the characteristics attributed to support our armor be limited to those discussed. Each of us are encouraged to study the scriptures and find any other attributes you feel may support our spiritual armor in addition to those mentioned in the text.
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