The Legacy of Feet
Jul 22, 2018 03:46AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
He sat next to me in church—a rare moment when my youngest son was at my side for the full worship service. It was flip-flop season, and there, so free and wiggly, splayed out comfortably on rubber soles, his toes were a sight that took my breath away.
My father’s feet!
Only, they were 12 years young and smaller. But there they were, nonetheless, dropkicking me back in time to a little girl marveling at how her toes were shaped exactly as her daddy’s:
Long toes that stretched so far as if they could have almost played a keyboard.
The fourth toe curving inward toward the third one like a caterpillar suddenly changing direction.
The pinky toenail jutting out as if it was barely attached and about to jump off.
I suppose I already knew that, genetically, my son favored my late father with his freckled, lanky limbs; beautiful red hair; and stout upper lip.
But to look down and find my father’s feet, in that moment, was both a comfort and a glimpse at the future.
We can tell ourselves what we want to about each generation starting fresh and determining its own path, but those young feet were not without legacy, history, and a past that propelled them into motion.
When I look at my son’s feet, there is more I see beyond the physical. I see a child who struggled for many years to carry out what was already in his heart at birth: God’s purposes. I see compassion for others, deepened faith, a solid sense of who he is, clear boundaries, self respect, and a heart that prefers to lead ahead of his mind.
That’s not me bragging about my kid. I’m sure, if you have children, you could speak your own vision over who they are and where they are going, and I’m certain they are just as awesome! I love children! They are my favorite muses!
My point is to inspire you to look.
The feet my tween walks on match those of someone very dear to me—but they travel a different road. They carry similar character traits imprinted with the unique plans of God for those feet.
As I pondered how important our feet are, I considered the many verses in the Bible about them, among which these are only a sample.
1) Where we stand is significant.
The feet of Moses found themselves standing on holy ground by the burning bush.
Exodus 3:4-5, ESV
When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
2) Feet are places of God’s provision.
As the Israelites wandered the wilderness, God showed Himself true by keeping their feet well-maintained.
Deuteronomy 29:5, ESV
I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.
3) God secures our footing, protecting us, and takes us to the high places that He calls us to.
2 Samuel 22:34, 37, ESV
He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip…
4) God uses feet as a metaphor for submission.
Our enemies are put under our feet. Amen?
1 Kings 5:3, ESV
“You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.”
5) Our feet can lead us to wander.
They can take us along God’s path—or away from it.
2 Kings 21:8, ESV
“And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.”
6) God gives us our feet as a sign of dominion.
Psalm 8:6, ESV
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.
7) Our feet can follow temptation.
We must “hold them back.”
Psalm 119:101, ESV
I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
8) By the same token, our feet can also bring good news.
If we submit our way to God, we can be “publishers of peace.”
Isaiah 52:7, ESV
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
9) Our feet have been given permission not to waste time where we are not welcomed in Christ.
They have been instructed to set healthy boundaries.
Matthew 10:14, ESV
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
10) God’s feet are a place to humble ourselves and ask for physical, emotional, mental, and, most importantly, spiritual healing.
Matthew 15:30, ESV
And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them.
11) Humility, in coming to the feet of Jesus, is a form of worship.
Luke 7:38, ESV
..and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
12) Our feet are a symbol of our service to others, first modeled by Christ to His disciples.
John 13:5, ESV
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
13) We may believe that our feet are “stuck” and unable to be of use, but where God wills it, He advances His purposes, no matter our handicap.
Acts 14:8-10, ESV
Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.
14) The feet of Jesus carry the importance of the crucifixion.
They were nailed to the cross on our behalf, yet, through those feet and the victory of His resurrection, He has brought evil under our feet.
Psalm 22:16, ESV
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet.
When you consider what God says about the significance of feet, look down and see what yours are doing:
- Are they walking in similar footsteps to a relative or influential person in your life? Is that a good or a bad thing?
- Do they bring honor to God or lead you away from Him?
- Where do they spend most of their time? Are they in good standing (I know, sorry—horrible pun!)?
- Do they lead you toward those who need your help?
- Do you feel victorious as you walk, or are you often stumbling and aimless, tripping over yourself?
- Do you feel empowered when you venture out, or are you out of the will and plans God has established for your life?
- Do your feet bring good news and publish peace to those around you?
If you are struggling with any of these, all you have to do is humble yourself at the feet of Jesus and ask that He redirect you along His path. You can trust Him. His feet endured spiked nails holding Him fast to the cross on your behalf. They walked Him along the road to Emmaus as a risen Savior.
Let your feet walk in the legacy Christ has set before them. I promise you, He will set them in high places and keep them well-maintained. He will deliver your enemy under your feet and lead you in the way everlasting.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.