So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. (Ephesians 6:13-15 TEV)
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the third thing to do in spiritual warfare is to wear shoes that announce the Good News of peace. So, the full armor of God includes integrity, purity and serenity. Serenity is living in peace and speaking in peace. You don't speak conflict to other people; you speak peace to them.
Roman centurions needed a special kind of shoe in order to protect them in battle. On the bottom of their shoes were hobnails, which are similar to cleats. This kept the Roman soldiers from slipping and sliding in battle. It helped them to stand their ground.
The apostle Paul says if you are going to stand in a battle and not stumble, you need shoes with the gospel of peace. Now, there are three kinds of peace. You’re to have peace with God, peace with yourself, and peace with other people. Peace is always relational.
What is Paul saying? If you have messed up relationships, you are a pushover for Satan. If you are holding onto a grudge or bitterness, Satan will be able to push you around.
Where do I learn to be at peace with God, others and myself? The Bible says, “Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble” (Psalms 119:165 NLT). The more time I spend in God's word, the more I will be at peace.
Satan doesn't want you to wear the armor of God, so he attacks your integrity with lies. He attacks your purity with lust, and he attacks your serenity with worry. Any time you worry, you have opened the door to Satan. You cannot be anxious, or worried, or fearful and, at the same time, be at peace.
God calls us to live peace and to speak peace into the lives of other people. This doesn’t mean we won’t have conflict. The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV). The shoes of the Good News help us to stand firm even in the midst of conflict and to work toward reconciliation when we can.
Saddleback Resources offers a small group Bible study related to these devotionals: The Invisible War-Winning the Battle of Temptation.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life, and also The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.