You can tell a lot about a person‘s plans for the day by looking at their feet. Work boots or wing tips? High heels or high tops? Sneakers or loafers? Cleats or Crocs? Your goals and purposes and pathways and intentions are revealed in the shoes that you choose.
Paul says something profound about what a Christian’s shoes are supposed to look like as part of his description of the armor of God in Ephesians 6. He describes them as having feet that are “shod” or “fitted” or “strapped” with readiness for the gospel.
I can’t help but wonder which shoes in my closet best represent Paul’s picture of Gospel shoes.
You may quickly think of your “Christian” shoes as your “church” shoes: formal and fancy, your dressiest, shiniest, most upscale “Sunday Best.” But that’s not the picture Paul paints in Ephesians 6.
The shoes he describes are supposed to give us traction and support to stand firm and press forward. Gospel shoes are shoes that are meant for running along narrow trails and climbing up steep hills. Gospel shoes are more like army boots, or something you might use for CrossFit. I can’t help but wonder if my daily shoes are really fit for the use of the cross.
Many of us prefer shoes that are stylish, or easy to slip on and off. I tend to opt for comfort and coziness. If I am honest, my feet are more comfortable when they are propped up at home on the coffee table than they are out on the busy streets and bumpy paths that lead me to interact with people who are far from God.
But Gospel shoes aren’t meant to be propped up. They are supposed to be worn in because they’re meant to be worn… out. Out in parks, and out on streets, and out at soccer games, and out at taco trucks, and out at repair shops, and out at hair salons, and out in offices, and out at coffee houses.
Gospel shoes are designed for bringing messages on mountaintops (Isaiah 52:7), and for trudging through hard valleys (Psalm 23:4). They help us to walk in the light (1 John 1:7) and keep us from stumbling (Jude 1:24). They are for crossing riverbeds (Joshua 3:15), and ocean floors (Exodus 14:22), and crushing the heads of serpents (Genesis 3:15).
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Gospel shoes are meant to make an impression. They are made to leave marks. They are a means of imprinting tracks that those who come behind you can find and follow. And isn’t that what we are called to do?
As you put your feet on the ground tomorrow, and every day that follows, be mindful to carefully choose the shoes you will use. May you and I both be laced-up in thick-treaded boots that enable us to take active and ready steps to seek, search, and engage those who are far from God, walking with Him and beside them to lead distant ones to Jesus.
What kind of shoes will you choose today?