The third listed spiritual weapon of Ephesians 6 is “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” Ephesians 6:15.
“Readiness” is “the state or quality of being ready; preparation; promptness; aptitude; willingness”. Our feet are what moves us. As we need a variety of shoes to fit a variety of tasks, we need special shoes to make us prompt, prepared and willing– a “readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”. It is both something we apply and something we receive.
“Peace” is freedom from strife of any kind, harmony, quiet, order, security, quiet, calm, stillness.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God (freedom of strife of any kind, harmony, quiet, order, security, quiet, calm, stillness which God brings), which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The “gospel of peace” is really the gospel of Jesus. One of the names of God is peace:
When God reassured Gideon that he was not going to die because he had seen the Lord “face to face” Judges 6: 22 Gideon called Him “the Lord is Peace”:
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it the Lord is Peace…” Judges 6:23-24.
Isaiah prophesized about Jesus several hundred years before He was born calling Him "the Prince of Peace”:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…” Isaiah 9:6-7
Paul calls Jesus the “the God of peace” and “the Lord of peace” :
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through….” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Jesus gives peace. Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit—a person who knows Jesus has these attributes:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit and the armor of God interact to explain the relationship of the believer with Jesus:
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17
If we are steadfast in trusting in Jesus, He will keep us in "perfect peace”:
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
The following verses explain why the “good news” is “the gospel of peace” and partially how it used as a weapon and how God feels about those who apply this weapon:
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"” Isaiah 52:7
This verse explains the gospel as proclaiming peace, as does the following verse.
“Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!…” Nahum 1:15
This message was first sent to “the people of Israel”:
“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” Acts 10:36
It was God’s plan that “the gospel of peace” be available for everyone: “but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 2:10
God/Jesus sends those who believe in Him to tell others about Him:
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"” Romans 10:14-15 If our desire is to please God, we will do what we can to persuade others to believe in Him.
We have “readiness” to spread “the gospel of peace” because we have received “the gospel of peace”. That is why this weapon, like the other weapons, is both something we apply and something we receive. The following verse explains one aspect of this applying and receiving:
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
God is working in us to make us like His Son Jesus: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” Romans 8:29
Besides being “the gospel of peace”, Jesus is our example of “readiness” to spread the “the gospel of peace”. He gave His life to pay the penalty for man’s sin. He was the only One who could pay that price because He is the fullness of God Himself:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20
He reconciled Himself and mankind through paying for man’s sin:
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” Ephesians 2:14-18 We have everything if we accept His free gift of “peace”—we have “access to the Father by one Spirit”.
Because of “the gospel of peace”, we should have “the readiness” to speak about Jesus. He even tells how to do tell others about Him:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
Those who have "the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” are “peacemakers” and they spread much good:
“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 Notice how the pieces of armor are related to each other—the weapons or characteristics of righteousness, peace and faith are mentioned in this verse.
God wishes peace for all men, but some will not accept His offer:
“…Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. "And I will heal them." But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked." Isaiah 57:19-21
"There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked." Isaiah 48:22
Paul quotes Isaiah 59:7-8 when he describes the wicked: “and the way of peace they do not know." Romans 3:17
Some people wouldn’t even to listen to Jesus, God Himself:
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42
The Bible is full of contrasts between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not:
“There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.” Proverbs 12:20
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
We all have a choice to believe in Jesus and also a choice to obey Him.
Those who believe in Jesus have “peace with God”:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1
If we believe in Jesus, we have found wisdom and the way to all true peace:
“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom…Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:13-17
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 All of God’s ways bring peace.
God blessed “men on whom his favor rests” with peace when He gave Jesus to the world:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peaces to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14
Jesus and His followers often blessed people with peace:
“Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:50 8:48
"Peace be with you!” Luke 24:36 John 20:19, 21, 26
We should do all we can to promote peace both with believers and unbelievers. Paul commands:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men…” Hebrews 12:14
An example of applying God’s love and promoting peace is a story of a man who used a “gentle answer” to turn away wrath:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
When we were living in Montreal, a friend told us this story. He accidently ran into a man’s car. The man got out of his car, every angry, red in the face. Our friend said to him that he was so sorry, he realized it was all his fault and he was willing to pay what was necessary. The man he had hit went away calm and didn’t charge him anything. In a sense, he had used the weapon of peace. Our friend’s purpose was not to get away without paying anything, but to treat someone else fairly, the way he would have been wanted to be treated. Sometimes we will be taken to court and expected to pay all sorts of expenses, but if we keep trusting God and showing love, it will work out for our good and God’s glory.
Putting readiness and love together is shown in the following verse:
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10 Notice we are especially to do good “to those who belong to the family of believers”.
The following verses show some of the ways we can do this:
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:9-10
“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” 3 John 1:8 When we help other Christians we help “the gospel of peace”—Jesus and people He wants to reach with His offer of peace with God.
Jesus says, through David:
“How good and pleasant it is when bothers love together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
And through Paul:
“then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:2.
And through Peter: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
It is God’s very heart, when Christians are united. Then much can be accomplished for the kingdom of God.
How do we apply this weapon?
We can tell others about Jesus and apply God’s love. The best description of how to apply God’s love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." If we treat people with the love this passage explains, how much more readily they would accept the gospel! How much more effective our lives would be in spreading the gospel if we put unconditional love into practice.
Jesus stressed unconditional love to His disciples, giving as an example what He would do shortly after He talked to them:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
The Apostle Paul was able to ask the Thessalonians to follow him because he had shown them that he loved them:
“but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” 1 Thessalonians 7-9
Paul genuinely loved the Thessalonians because he had God’s heart:
“You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:20-12
Perhaps the greatest act of love we can show is telling someone about Jesus or showing them Jesus in some way, even if it means sacrifice on our part. They, too, can have this “…peace of God, which transcends all understanding…” Philippians 4:7
Because we have “set apart Christ as Lord” (we have made Jesus our Lord and are acting upon that fact) we will have “the readiness” to tell people about Jesus at any time. Some will receive the message because we presented it with “gentleness and respect” and because of our “good behavior in Christ” (the kind of behavior that glorifies Jesus):
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 Always being “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” is a spiritual weapon against demonic forces.
To apply the weapon of “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” we should
(1 thank Jesus for what He has given us
(2 be ready (prepared, prompt, willing) at all times to tell others about Him and
(3 be kind, loving, peaceful and promote peace. That we can do because He has given us His Spirit.