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When A Bloody Toe Helped Me Understand Scripture

Despite my bloody toe and ruined birthday pedicure, I soar down the flowy mountain bike trail, huge grin on my face and spouting dumb phrases like, "She flies through the forest with the greatest of ease!"

I smile for two very different reasons. I am so thrilled my husband and I are finally mountain biking regularly. But two? My newb mistake in footwear - thanks MomBrain! - actually shed a little more light on a confusing Bible verse.

The book of Ephesians in the Bible is such a mind-blowing book, especially when you read it start to finish. Who Jesus is, what He did, who we are, what the Church is, and who we are really up against. In Ephesians 6:12, we learn that our "battle" is not against other people. It is against "the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." This is tremendously difficult to remember, especially if you grew up in Western culture.

While the proceeding verses instruct how to protect ourselves, using pieces of armor as metaphors, I've always found this one puzzling:

"and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace."

That is, until I failed to wear the proper footwear on a trail that began ... much rougher than I anticipated. The first two miles of the eight mile trail were more technical than the trail guide had indicated. "Eyes up, eyes up." But telling myself that didn't prevent my poor foot from getting smashed on a large rock. Once I made sure all toenails were still in place and nothing was broken, I rode on, now free from the fear of the unknown.

But even as the trail eased up, I was still distracted by my exposed feet. I couldn't whip the pedals back around with the top of my foot as easily. I stared at the ground more often, checking for roots and rocks and all things rough. And even though I still had a great time, I wasn't as confident or focused as I would've been otherwise.

I was uneasy...I wasn't ready.

"and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace."

We are told in several other places in Scripture to stay alert, to persevere, to run hard. This life isn't a sit-down game, it's not a spectator sport, it's a "run in such a way as to get the prize" life. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

How many times have you worn the wrong shoes and been uncomfortably distracted by a growing blister? Or even just worn the wrong shoes for the event/your outfit and been distracted by your lack of proper apparel?

When we the let the "gospel of peace" govern our life, we will be ready to do all the good things for God and for other people that we were meant to do - the reason we were each given our particular skills, talents, and opportunities. Those blisters or injuries from wrong footwear? Think of those as equivalent to bitterness, slander, gossip, anger, unforgiveness, and the disunity that is the antithesis to the Gospel. Remember the difference in motivation between Eric and Harold in the movie Chariots of Fire? It was the difference between joy and envy, peace and selfish ambition.

Oftentimes, it's simply just one of the Enemy's favorite tactics in Western culture...


I would never have understood that darn verse sitting on my couch. So much of Scripture won't make sense until we are out biking, or gardening, or working alongside another, teaching a child, building something, serving someone at an inconvenient time, etc. etc.

Sometimes a silly mistake ends up not being much of a mistake at all.


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