THE Christian was evidently intended to be in motion, for here are shoes for his feet. His head is provided with a helmet, for he is to be thoughtful. His heart is covered with a breastplate, for he is to be a man of feeling. His whole nature is protected by a shield, for he is called to endurance and caution. But that he is to be active is certain, for a sword is provided for his hand to use and sandals with which his feet are to be shod.
The Lord never intended His people to be automatons worked by clockwork, or cold and dead statues, but He meant them to have life, to have it abundantly, and in the power of that life to be full of energy. It is true He makes us lie down in green pastures, but equally certain is it that He leads us onward beside the still waters. A true believer is an active person — he has feet and uses them.
Now, he who marches meets with stones, or if as a warrior he dashes into the thick of the conflict he is assailed with weapons, and therefore he needs to be shod suitably to meet his perils. The active and energetic Christian meets with temptations which do not happen to others. Satan cannot stand a man who serves God earnestly — he does damage to the archenemy’s dominions and therefore he must be incessantly assailed. The prince of darkness will try, if he can, to injure the good man’s character, to break his communion with God, to spoil the simplicity of his faith, to make him proud of what he is doing, or to make him despair of success. In some way or other he will, if possible, bruise the worker’s heel, or trip him up, or lame him altogether. Because of all these dangers, infinite mercy has provided Gospel shoes for the believer’s feet—shoes of the best kind—such as only those warriors wear who serve the Lord of hosts. We shall at this time first examine the shoes and then try them on.
Our first duty is to EXAMINE THE SHOES which are provided for us by our Captain, and in doing so we are delighted to find that they come from a blessed Maker. Many preparations and inventions are used for protecting feet, but this is a preparation in which infinite skill has been displayed and the same wisdom put forth as in the Gospel, which is the masterpiece of God. Every portion of the Gospel is from God and all the influence which makes it a Gospel of peace is His — and we are therefore thankful to find that we are to wear “the preparation of the Gospel of peace.”
We rejoice that all the pieces of armour which compose our panoply come forth from the celestial Armourer, whose productions are without a flaw. We are glad to find that the shoes are made of excellent material. —and what better material can there be than the Gospel—the Gospel of peace and that peace which grows out of the Gospel? This is what is meant. We believe in a Gospel which was formed in the purpose of God from all eternity, designed with infinite wisdom, wrought out at an enormous expense, costing nothing less than the blood of Jesus, brought home by infinite power, even by the might of the Holy Spirit. A Gospel full of blessings, any one of which would outweigh a world in price—a Gospel as free as it is full, a Gospel everlasting and immutable, a Gospel of which we can never think too much, whose praises we can never exaggerate! It is from this choice Gospel that its choicest essence is taken, namely, its peace. And from this peace those sandals are prepared with which a man may tread on the lion and the adder, yea, and on the fierce burning coals of malice, slander, and persecution. What better shoes can our souls require?
What does it mean? It means, first, that a sense of perfect peace with God is the grandest thing in all the world with which to travel through life. Let a man know that his sins are forgiven him for Christ’s name’s sake, that he is reconciled to God by the death of His Son, and that between him and God there is no ground of difference—and what a joyful pilgrim he becomes! A man at peace with God dreads neither the ills of life nor the terrors of death. Poverty, sickness, persecution, and pain have lost their sting when sin is pardoned. What is there that a man needs to fear when he knows that in no affliction will there be any trace of the judicial anger of God, but all will come from a Father’s hand and work his lasting good. If we would enjoy the fullest comfort of the well-shod pilgrim, we must have the exceeding peace which springs from intimate, undisturbed communion with God. O child of God, you will very soon have your feet torn with the briars of the way if you do not abide in fellowship with God!
It is also a grand sandal for a pilgrim’s feet when the Gospel of peace has fully conformed his mind to the Lord’s will. Some children of God are not at peace with God because they do not fully acquiesce in the Divine purposes. To them the pilgrim path must be a painful one, for nothing can please them — their unmortified self-will creates swarms of vexations for them. But to hearts which have crucified self and yielded all to the will of God, the most thorny paths are pleasant. He who can say concerning all things, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,” is shod for all ways and weathers, and may march on undismayed. Fully conformed to the Divine Will, saints are invulnerable and invincible, “none shall be weary nor stumble among them, neither shall the laces of their shoes be broken.” Shod with perfect delight in the will of the Lord, we are able to surmount all the difficulties and trials of the way, for it becomes sweet to suffer when we see that it is the will of God. Resignation is good, but perfect acquiescence is better, and happy, thrice happy is the man who feels it. No silver sandals were ever so precious, no buskins of golden mail adorned with precious stones were so glorious to look upon as a mind molded to the Divine Will, perfectly in tune with the mind of the Lord Most High.
But the Gospel of peace has another side to it, for it not only brings us peace with God, but it inspires us with peace towards ourselves. Civil war is the worst of war and for a man to be at discord with himself is the worst of strife. The worst peril of Christian pilgrimage is that which arises from the pilgrim’s own self, and if he be ill at ease within himself, his course cannot be a happy one. It is a cruel case for a man when his own heart condemns him. To whom shall he look for a defense when his own conscience indicts him and all his faculties turn King’s evidence against him? It is to be feared that many believers habitually do that which they would not like to be questioned upon by the rule of the Word of God - they have to close their eyes to many passages of Scripture, or else they would be uneasy in their consciences. Rest of conscience shoes us right well. Oh, to walk in such a way that your conscience is void of offense both towards God and towards man—then integrity and uprightness will preserve you and your goings will be established. “He will keep the feet of his saints.” “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
Having thus described these Gospel shoes, I should like to say that the feet of our Lord and Master were sandaled in this manner. He was the King of pilgrims and to Him the way was even rougher than it can be to us. But these were the shoes He wore, and having worn them, He counsels us to put on the same. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” said He.
Excerpted from the sermon no. 3143 titled “Shoes for Pilgrims and Warriors” by CH Spurgeon. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from https://www.spurgeongems.org/sermon/chs3143.pdf