‘Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.’
(Ephesians chapter 6, verses 14 – 15)
In this latest article the peace of God, as represented by the gospel of peace, will be the focus of my reflection and sharing.
Definition & Significance
Good news in the form of a Saviour is the main message of the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Jesus taught that the good news was that the Kingdom of God was near at hand. His life, death and resurrection as the gateway to the Kingdom of God is thus the ultimate gospel – the Gospel. Paul wrote of the gospel describing it as good news that both was peaceful and would bring about peace.
The Kingdom of God is about reconciliation and being at peace with God. Jesus also taught the disciples not just about the Gospel, but also how to approach delivering it to the various towns and places throughout the region of Galilee.
The key characteristic to describe the Gospel is “peace”. This stands in stark contrast to the various ideas that were already in the mindset of the general public. The Jews generally were well versed with the prophecies that they would receive a deliverer and saviour. Unfortunately, their worldly mindset meant their idea of a Messiah would be a political leader who would physically restore the nation and free them from the oppression of the Roman authority. Jesus was clear that his message, and the Kingdom was built on a foundation of love and peace, not violence or the sword.
Peace is not just a description of the nature of the Gospel, or it’s delivery – we will achieve peace and reconciliation with God. In Ephesians chapter 2 verse 14, Paul describes Jesus as “our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility”. In verse 17, Jesus “came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near for through him we have access in one Spirit to the Father”.
Application & Testimony
The analogous item in the armoury for the Gospel are sandals. We are therefore to wear the Gospel to protect our feet. As part of our morning routine, and before we leave home, we can be reminded that as we put our shoes on, we are also arming ourselves with the Gospel. As we look ahead to each day, we can be reminded that God has provided us with the entire armour, and as we wear our shoes, we have His protection to keep us safe from being tempted and falling into sin.
We may have oversimplified the understanding of the Gospel that we are to wear, but a proper contextualisation and interpretation helps us to appreciate it is more a readiness of the gospel of peace that we are to have on our feet. Think of it as being ready to move about with the Gospel.
Having a gospel of peace mindset allows us to be agile and adaptable to the various situations we find ourselves in. If we are connected into the headship of God, He may direct us in the way we represent Jesus to the people around us. Sometimes, when you bump into people on your daily commute into work, God will create opportunities for you to share His goodness and Gospel to them. Sometimes, it is not a direct “this is the Gospel message” either, but you can infuse the Gospel truths into the way you talk, and also in between everything that you share, and thus provide God’s love in a holistic package. Sometimes, loving other people means just listening in a non-judgemental way, so that you build trust with them.
I thank you for providing us with your Gospel. I thank you for making the message so meaningful and adaptable to the everyday situations of my own life, and I’m sure, for everyone else. No matter what our culture and background, You and Your Gospel bring us peace.
As I get up each morning, invariably to go to work, I thank you for the provision that I have plenty of choice in what I wear. Help me to actively choose You and Your Gospel to be part of the overall armour you equip us with.
As I walk these steps of life, literally, to the car, to the train and the office, may you guide my steps that I may walk beside you and in pathways of Your wisdom, truth, love and peace. Help me to see the people around me through Your loving eyes, so that I may represent You well to them, in minor little ways.
Fragrance and permeate my conversations with people, both believers and the non-believers, with your Gospel truth and peaceful nature, such that they are encouraged and blessed. Help me continue to be a peacemaker, finding solutions or just being a friendly and supportive presence in journeys which are more difficult to bear.
For those who are weary and heavy hearted by the situations of life and hopeless circumstances, help me to intercede for them, such that their burdens can be placed at the foot of your cross. Where society breaks down, where law and order norms are challenged, help people to see you. Though the darkness of the world grows evermore, remind us that your light shines ever brighter in contrast. Your Gospel is peace. Your presence within the believer is an unwavering source of warmth, energy and hope for a world which fights with itself, and You.
As our Heavenly gardener, rain down your living streams of water so that we your people will drink and not thirst. Prune the weeds and show us the fertile friendly soil of individuals who are eager and ready to receive the blessing that is Your Gospel truth. Where there are concrete-type environments, and the Gospel message is rejected, help us to dust our feet off and move onto greener pastures.
May Your peace be with us.
In Jesus Name.
When peace like a river, attends my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
(It is Well with My Soul, Philip Paul Bless & Christopher Stafford)
Nic works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in the areas of worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.