And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
I. Now, the first thing that strikes me about these words as being very beautiful and significant is THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO ANTAGONISTIC IDEAS OF WARFARE AND PEACE. It is the soldier's equipment that comes from this gospel of peace. The apostle evidently thinks that the possession in our souls of that inward peace which comes from the great message and work of Jesus Christ is the best preparation for the fight. "If you want peace prepare for war," says the heathenish and wicked old motto. If you want war and victory, secure peace in your hearts, is the Christian article of belief. The two things are not compatible, a central repose and a ruffled surface. The frost of a winter's night goes an inch or two into the ground, but the heart of the globe is a fire. And there may be, all round about us, touching and affecting the surface of our being, distractions enough, distractions of circumstances, of sorrows, of difficulties, many things that are at enmity with joy and with tranquillity, and yet away down in the depths, which are the real man, there may be a stillness as of some land-locked valley that "heareth not the loud winds when they call." Your feet may be shod for all the warfare, with the readiness that comes from the possession of a general peace. The foes may storm round the little castle, but in the centre of the keep there may be a quiet room, with thick walls and curtains, where no sound of warfare ever reaches.
II. And, then, look at the other thought of how this possession of a heart made tranquil because it is quite sure of its harmonious friendship with God, and because it is not suffering from the dreary emotions of passions and lusts, MAKES A MAN READY FOR ANYTHING, BEADY FOR THE MARCH, READY FOR THE FIGHT. Ready for the march. What is it that hinders us from being prepared for any new duties that may come to us, or any new circumstances that may call for our endurance, but one thing - that our wills have not been submitted to His; and another thing - that we have not "learned to sit loose to this world," as the old Puritans used to say. Now, whoever has, deep in his heart, the repose that comes from the possession of the gospel of peace, will have these two things also. He will have a will that is bent and bowed to God's, and he will not hold with such a desperate grip by the things of this present. And so, when new tasks come he will be ready for them, and when the new circumstances emerge out of the darkness they will not take him by surprise, and he will be ready, according to the motto of the old Scotch family, "Ready! aye ready!" His feet will be shod with the alacrity, the quickness to apprehend, and apprehending, to accept any new circumstances that may come to him.
III. HOW CAN THIS PREPAREDNESS BE INCREASED AND MADE HABITUAL? Do not forget, dear brethren, that these words, as they stand in the original, are a commandment We are bidden to put on these marching shoes. It is ours to determine the extent which we shall have the peace that makes ready, and the gospel that brings peace.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;