“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:14-15).
Although the word “peace” can be found more than 150 times in the Bible, this phrase, “the gospel of peace,” is used nowhere else in the Old or New Testaments. Paul didn’t explain it, and he didn’t tell us how putting it on our feet is supposed to help us in our spiritual battles, but I think we can figure out what he was talking about.
The word “gospel” means “good news” or “good tidings.” Remember that phrase? The angel who came to the shepherds on the first Christmas said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). The angel came to announce the gospel, the good news that Jesus had come into the world. But the good news doesn’t end with the Christmas story. Jesus taught us how to know God and how to serve him, he showed us how to love each other, and then he gave his own life as a sacrifice for our sins so we could live with him someday in heaven. And the good news doesn’t end with Easter. Jesus is living in heaven right now, watching over us. The Holy Spirit lives within us to help us know God better and to experience his love. God has a plan for your life, and he has a plan for the whole world. In the end, everything will work out according to his plan, and he—and we—will be victorious.
That’s good news!
Remembering that good news every day—preaching ourselves the gospel, putting it on our feet and standing on it—is our protection from Satan’s attempts to sabotage our lives. How can we doubt God’s love for us when we remember that Jesus died for us? How can we be afraid of the future when God is in control and has promised us victory in Christ? How can we be angry at what other people have done to us when God has forgiven all our sins against him? He sent his own Son to die, to pay the penalty for those sins. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
When we look at what God has done, at who God is, at what he has promised us—when we remember the good news of the gospel—our perspective changes and the doubts, fears, and hurts which have been rubbing us the wrong way just disappear. Of course, God doesn’t promise to make our lives safe, happy, and prosperous all the time when we put our trust in him. But when we put our trust in him, everything that does happen in our life—every good, bad, exciting, ugly, exasperating, beautiful, terrible thing that happens—is for our good. These things happen to make us into the people God wants us to be. They happen so we will rely on God alone for our strength, our hope, and our joy. And the more we rely on God and trust him to use everything for our good, the more we find ourselves at peace in a world that is full of turmoil and hatred and war.
What is my mission as an author? It's a tough question, but I believe the goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they really believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.