When I first became a Christian, I had a desire to go out and show the love and grace of God to everyone I met. Years later, that burning desire had dwindled to little more than a passing thought. I found myself on the ‘couch of peace,’ rather than in the ‘shoes of peace.’ Ephesians 6 lists the armor of God. These are all qualities of God that we “put on.” Shoes are one of the articles we put on with readiness given by the gospel of peace. This sounds great! Shoes are meant to be put on when we GO places. Shoes protect our feet and provide comfort. Shoes help us to go out and serve God, but what happens when the shoes of peace turn into the couch of peace?
I found myself in a spiritual rut once in which the shoes of peace turned into the couch of peace. I had a personal theology that since I was saved through Jesus Christ, I could just coast and chill 'til I entered Heaven or ‘til Christ returned. I had no spiritual responsibility to others. My shoes turned into a couch. I was fine not going out and seeking relationships with those who didn’t know Jesus. I was fine just chillin' where I was, enjoying my own life. Why go out when I’m good, right? Why take the risk of meeting someone new?
Relationships are messy… people are messy… it’s sometimes easier not to get involved in all that. What’s interesting about shoes is with more wear, comes more dirt and tear. A worn and dirty shoe means someone went out and experienced the mess. It seemed easier to stay home and keep my shoes clean, so to speak.
I remember feeling convicted while reading Ephesians 6. I had turned my faith into a comfortable, self-serving life. I was so me-focused that I had lost sight of other people…of God’s people. The sandals of peace are meant to aid us in going out for others and pointing them to God. I started realizing how many people I came in contact with daily and the opportunities I had missed. These were opportunities to build up God’s kingdom here and now.
Once I prayed on this, I put my sandals back on. I went out. I started to notice relationships in which God was using me to bless others. I was able to embrace the challenge of meeting new people as an opportunity for God to use me, and if I was obedient, to further his kingdom. This was life-changing for me in the way I view meeting others.
I always encourage students to realize that every interaction with other people is a chance to be the light. One simple smile and hello can have such a huge impact. One simple call, text, or message of encouragement to someone could be life-changing. Yes, people and relationships are messy, but they are nothing Jesus can’t handle.
These things all happen when we get off the couch and put on the shoes of peace. In John 1 Jesus said, “Come and See,” and in several places in the Bible, he said to his disciples, “Go.” As his disciples here and now on earth, let’s get our shoes ready!
Student Ministries Associate