Choose the Right Shoes
It hasn’t always been this way but somehow my right foot has decided to keep on growing. I usually get the next size up in order to fit my bigger foot and let the other foot swim around in its own shoe. There is a website for those who have need of two different shoe sizes, so I know I am not the only one with this problem.
From a baby’s first shoes to the first day of school shoes, and from ballet slippers to the football cleats, shoes are important. Shoes make a statement. And shoes need to fit, or they become painful the longer they are worn. We need to choose the right shoes.
In Rembrandt’s painting, The Prodigal Son, the younger, repentant son who left home and then returned is shown kneeling before his father with one shoe on his right foot while the left foot is bare, shoe lying off to the side. The younger son is portrayed as broken and in need of attention from his head clear down to his bare, dirty heels.
The prodigal son is welcomed home by his joyful, loving father:
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” - Luke 15:22 – 24
So, they began to celebrate. A new robe, the family ring and shoes for his new life.
In the book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen explains, “Bare feet indicate poverty and slavery. Shoes are for the wealthy and the powerful. Shoes offer protection; they give safety and strength. For many poor people, getting shoes is a benchmark passage. An old African-American spiritual expresses this beautifully: ‘All God’s chillun got shoes.’ It is a blessing and a necessity to own a pair of shoes...for protection, safety and strength.”
Likewise, in Ephesians 6:10-18, the Armor of God is about being spiritually prepared to go out into the world in order to share the Gospel with those who do not know about Jesus, the Messiah, or those who openly oppose the Truth of the Gospel. Verse 15, “...and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” We call those the Gospel shoes, where we are spiritually ready and eager to share the Gospel or the Good News of Jesus in a spirit of the Peace that Jesus brings.
If you or I have our own agenda wanting to be right, wanting to tell others they are wrong, wanting to argue others into the Kingdom, or maybe even hoping to avoid walking into a conversation where we are challenged in our Christian faith, we have not chosen the right “shoes”. We are trying to wear those Gospel shoes without the rest of the Armor:
Belt of Truth - At the core we know the Truth and believe in Jesus as Savior. There is no other way.
Breastplate of Righteousness - Front and back, covered and protected with the Holy Spirit.
Shield of Faith - Trusting in the Father that no matter what comes at us, He is with us.
Helmet of Salvation - Our minds are focused on the Truth of Jesus. We KNOW Jesus.
Sword of the Spirit - Knowing scripture that cuts through the lies of the enemy.
An athlete does not wear golf shoes on a basketball court. A toddler learning to walk does not wear high heel baby shoes. And an unprepared believer in Jesus - one who has not prayed for God’s Will in sharing the new life he or she has found in Christ - cannot expect that the Gospel Shoes, fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace - will fit very well. We will stumble and fall.
There have been times when I have walked innocently into a discussion that was meant to be a challenge to my belief in Jesus as the only Way. But, with the Helmet of Salvation or knowing that Jesus IS the only way and having the Belt of Truth or the Truth at my very core along with the Breastplate or Protection of a Holy God, I was ready to stand firm in those Gospel Shoes, in a spirit of peace that Jesus brings. And, yes, I have been amazed that I was able to stand firm in Him.
You and I can choose to put on those Gospel Shoes when we walk with Jesus daily.
And we can choose to ask Him where He wants our Gospel Shoes to take us for His name’s sake.
Kay has served as Director of Women's Ministry in Wexford first as a volunteer and then on staff since 2006. In 2018, she transitioned from Wexford to the Butler County campus.
Her joy in ministry is in hearing women talk about their spiritual growth or newfound faith in Jesus, whether through a weekend message, Life Group experience, women's Bible study, special event, a mentoring relationship or at a women's retreat.
She and her husband Matt, their two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren live in Butler.