Shield Of Faith
Ephesians 6.16 – In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. (NLT)
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (NIV)
Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Amplified)
Shield of faith…. (Guarding your heart and mind)
If you’re a Christian, you are in a battle and have an enemy. But don’t be scared – Jesus has already won the victory. But we’re still in a fight. But God doesn’t leave us unarmed!
The Bible tells us about a bunch of spiritual weapons that can defend us from the enemy. One of these is the shield of faith…
It is interesting that the Bible tells us that the shield is not just protective – so it doesn’t just stop the arrows of the enemy getting through. The shield of faith also extinguishes (puts out) the fiery flaming arrows of the evil one.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way of stuff putting out a fire on it by itself?
Well, it’s a possibility. There is a type of coating of a water based polymer nanocoating invented by people at the University of Texas and elsewhere that actually extinguishes a fire on the material it is applied to!
In the same way, the shield of faith not only defends from arrows reaching us, it can actually extinguish them.
The Enemy’s Attacks – What do they look like?
The enemy throws fiery darts at the people of God every day in various ways. In a way, you are like a dartboard that the enemy throws darts at all day long. The shield of faith stands in front of the ‘dartboard’ and stops the darts getting through!
Here are some of the ways the devil attacks God’s people. It’s important to recognise them. Have a think about some of these things and see if they apply to you:
Doubts, fear, nagging worries, health problems or sickness, family situations, loss of confidence, feeling like others are talking about you, losing things like keys, problems with the car or accidents, sudden feelings of anger, things going on that you thought you had overcome, worrying about the situations in the world, stress, too much work, being too busy for God’s work we forget God, not wanting to pray, getting tired or bored if we read the Bible, pride…
These things aren’t from God. Yes, God can use bad things that happen and turn them for good in the lives of believers. We need to know that God is not the one who ever does evil. But the enemy throws these things at us non-stop, especially if we have a weakness in one area or we’re tired or over-worked. He knows our weak points so we have a duty to guard our hearts, our minds and our actions.
Ways to fight the enemy’s attacks – raising the shield up!
In the book of James, the Bible tells us that we should submit to God and resist the devil. Reading the Bible daily and committing what we do to God in prayer is a good start!
1. Believing God.
God calls us to believe in him instead of doubting. We believe God is who he says he is and he will do what he says he’s going to do. A verse in Isaiah 26 tells us that if we stay our minds on God (think about him) it gives us peace and shows we trust him. It’s like saying ‘I’ve got this situation God, but I trust you more than the situation and believe you are in control.’
2. We train our mind to think right!
We have the power to think God thoughts not bad thoughts, to take bad thoughts captive and turn them to thoughts obedient to God. What this means is that we train our mind to think God thoughts, to focus on God and not to focus on the situation. This is like raising up the shield of faith.
God’s given us the weapon of taking thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10.4-5). We can choose faith not fear. We can choose to focus on God and not problems. Whatever we focus on we magnify – whatever we think about becomes bigger in our mind and this is one way the devil tricks us, lies to us, making problems seem bigger than they are.
So when we think wrong things or negative thoughts we can choose to say ‘no’ to those thoughts and think about God. Imagine you’re in the room with God – chat to him and then tell the enemy to go away. It’s OK to speak to the negative thoughts in your head and say, ‘NO!’
The Bible tells us to magnify the Lord (make him big), to rejoice (be happy) in the Lord at all times. It’s good to worship as it takes our focus off things and puts it onto God. I often listen to worship tunes or watch video online.
4. Saying the Word of God (the Bible) out loud
We can confess the word and proclaim the word. This means we read the word out loud and then use the Bible to speak God’s promises over situations. So if you feel fear, you can speak out, “God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.”
We should also work and walk together, covering one another in prayer, encouragement, faith, love, hope, confidence and so on. We share good testimonies because it builds up trust in God and encourages people. We do this at my church all the time – getting people to share their ‘God stories’ of what God is doing or has done!
We’ve looked at the shield. But what Is Faith?
Someone has called faith, ‘the confident expectation of good.’
Romans 4.21 is a great definition of faith – “being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
In a book called ‘Streams in the Desert’ (p270) the writer states: “Abraham thought of himself as a father because God had said so. That is genuine faith – believing and declaring what God has said, stepping out on what appears to be thin air and finding solid rock beneath your feet.”
Part of the key of faith is just believing God, despite anything and anyone. The devil wants us to doubt God. He started this in Genesis 3 when he said to man and woman, ‘did God really say?’ He uses the same tactic today and knocks us back when things happen that we don’t understand.
So it’s important to know that God is good. He is good. He is not the author of evil. Let’s be clear – evil comes from the enemy. God is good.
We need to keep our eyes on God and his promises.
The Bible is truth. The Bible is a weapon – it’s alive and sharp – strong and powerful enough to stand on, to overcome, to bring change, to do the impossible, to heal and bring wholeness, to deliver and bring us through.
God’s Word also says that his promises are yes and Amen and that we have his great and precious promises through which we can escape the things of this world. It doesn’t always mean plain sailing but it means that we will pass through any situation that comes our way. Faith is trusting God in this.
All this is like putting the shield of faith up.
1 John 5.4 – Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Faith is the weapon that God uses to overcome every situation.
While I was training with the army cadets I was told that we should win the firefight in a battle – our fire power should overwhelm and overcome the enemy. That way we can advance. It’s the same in the life of a Christian – the shield of faith helps us advance and win.
So when Satan comes knocking at the door, just stick the shield up in his face (and then whack him with the Word of God which is like a sword). If we stand firm and we really get rid of fears, doubts and sin in our lives, the enemy can’t break and we can overcome.
So let’s get our shield, our hope and our faith up.