Saturday, September 5, 2015

R is for Ready Feet

What are ready feet? I’m so glad you asked.

In Ephesians 6, Paul uses an extended metaphor—or is it an analogy?—of a Roman soldier’s uniform to tell his readers to put on the armor of God. Most of the items are pretty straightforward, especially if you watch movies of ancient soldiers fighting:  helmet, breastplate, shield, sword. It’s verse 15 that I always trip over.

I find the wording awkward in most translations. It may really flow in Greek, since Paul was an educated and excellent writer, but I can’t remember enough Greek to be sure.

Here are a few translations of Ephesians 6:15 from
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (NIV)
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (ESV)
and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. (GNT)
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (NLT)

Then the NLT has a footnote, “Or For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the Good News of peace with God.”

I want to call that item of the soldier’s equipment “ready feet.”

In Jamaica, the children weren’t allowed in school (and were too respectful to come into church) without some kind of footwear, any kind of footwear. We brought lots of flip flops to the island and gave them away. Most schools in the U.S.A. won’t allow students to wear flip flops; they are not considered proper, or safe, or covered by insurance.
You can't go wrong with classic Florsheim.

Depending on the activity, you buy the appropriate footwear. You might need cleats (baseball or soccer or football) or hiking boots or riding boots or firefighter boots. You might need ice skates or skis or snowshoes. You might need steel-toed boots. You might need tap shoes. You might need shiny, expensive Florsheims to go with your Men’s Wearhouse suits. (I put that in for my husband, even though he doesn't read my blogs.)

I’ve never been an athlete, but I’m guessing if you show up for the soccer game without your cleats, you’re going to sit on the bench. Your feet aren’t ready.

I think Paul might be telling us believers to be ready to tell not-yet-believers the good news about Jesus. The Gospel makes us ready to share the Gospel. 

However, the context is all about battle: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NLT) So the Gospel also makes us ready to fight, not people, but those ominous sounding enemies in verse 12. 

Ready isn’t when you search frantically for your shoes for ten minutes because you’re going to be late for school or work or whatever. As the mom of four sons, I have participated in the desperate shoe search on more than one occasion. I even wrote about it and titled my work “The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Lost Shoe.”

A vintage Reddi-wip ad, 1951
Maybe I should change the spelling to “reddi feet,” like Reddi Wip.” When you want whipped cream for your pumpkin pie, the topping is already in the can, pressurized and ready to jump out. You don’t have to get out the mixer and chill the stainless steel bowl and beaters and mix in the sugar and whip the cream. 

British clergyman Charles Spurgeon said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

As followers and soldiers of Christ, let’s have Reddi Feet, and get ahead of the lie. 

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