“One Size Fits All” is a label that I’ve learned to despise. It’s not true. It’s not even close to being true. Imagine this: you find the perfect hat. It’s your favorite color, a shape that looks good on you and it’s on sale for 75% off. Excitedly you try it on and quickly realize it’s much too big for you. You take it off, check the size and see those words, “One Size Fits All.” I have seen these words attached to hats, rings, bracelets, even shirts and slippers! I know I’m not the norm. I’m tiny. My ring finger is a 3½ …if it’s hot out and my fingers are swollen! I have been known to shop the kids section when I’m looking for those One Size Fits All items. However, recently I have made a discovery.
What would you say if I told you that I have found a pair of shoes, sandals really, that truly are One Size Fits All? These shoes fit anyone…men, women, kids…from little kids to Big and Tall, they’ll fit. These shoes are part of our spiritual armor that we put on every day. We read about this incredible piece of footwear in Ephesians 6:15 (ESV) “…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”
I have to admit that of all the pieces of our spiritual armor it is the shoes that I have been the most confused about. What does it mean to put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace? Over the years, I have thought it meant to be ready to share the gospel with others. Recently, I have learned that is so much more than that; it is something very encouraging to those of us who are chronically ill.
The New American Standard version of the Bible, even though very close to the English Standard Version, presents us with a more literal translation of this verse. It reads, “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The Greek word translated “shod” means to put on or bind on sandals, or more accurately, the military sandals that Paul was used to seeing while he was imprisoned.
That leaves us with the question, what do these military sandals we just put on represent? Ephesians 6:15 tells us that we shod our feet “with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Jamieson and Fausset suggest this is a “preparedness to do and suffer all that God wills; readiness for march, as a Christian soldier. The ‘peace’ within forms a beautiful contrast to the raging of the outward conflict.”
As a person who suffers from chronic illness, I am deeply encouraged by this piece of spiritual armor. I am willing to suffer for the sake of Christ. All good soldiers suffer physically. In this battle called life we get knocked down, we get hurt, and we suffer greatly. But like any good soldier, we don’t stay down. We get up to fight again.
We fight physical illness, but we also fight “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).” Outwardly our lives are a raging battle, but inside we have an incredible peace that comes from God Himself. We know that in the end we will experience victory because Jesus experienced victory when He overcame death and rose from the grave. He died for our sins and even though we have many things to fight against in this world, we are free in Christ and know that our victory is sure.
I am reminded of the hymn Eugene Bartlett wrote in 1939, “Victory in Jesus.” Eugene wrote this song two years before he died and it was the last hymn he wrote. He penned these words after a serious stroke that left him very ill, confined to one room and unable to talk. It took him almost a month to write this song, as he was slowly dying. In the midst of his pain and weakness he boldly proclaimed that he had victory in Christ. (History of the song found here: http://youtu.be/AISwG6fMWBk)
You can listen to “Victory in Jesus” by watching the lyric video below. Remember, you have victory in Christ. Put on your One Size Fits All sandals and get ready to fight!
 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Eph 6:15). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
© July 3, 2013