The Armor of Spiritual Warfare—Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up THE SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Paul advises his readers that in addition to girding ourselves with truth, putting on the breastplate of righteousness and shodding our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, we are to take up the shield of faith which will enable us to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. That’s a lot to take in with one breath.
In previous reflections we’ve learned that we gird ourselves with truth by developing a stronger relationship with our Lord; we’ve also learned that the breastplate of righteousness is the submission to God and living a righteous and sanctified life that guards our hearts from enemy attacks by being united in Christ and other believers in church attendance; and we’ve learned that we shod our feet with the peace by being ready and prepared for enemy temptations and attacks by memorizing God’s Word to stand firm knowing our position in salvation which offers peace.
Now, in addition to those, we are to take up the shield of faith, our last defensive piece of equipment. Paul’s Greek word for shield is “thureos” meaning a door that was wide in width and long in length, shaped like a door and covered the soldier’s entire body. Paul uses it as an illustration of faith meaning that God has given each of us a measure of faith and enough of it to keep us completely covered. Our faith is to be strong, long lasting and durable like the soldier’s shield, which was made with six layers of tightly woven leather making it very strong and effective. With the abundance of leather came the necessity of a diligent daily morning regimen of care in order to keep the shield from cracking because without this daily effort of soaking the shield in water and oiling the leather, the solider was inviting his death in battle. In the same way, Christians are to allow the Holy Spirit to anoint our lives and regularly bathe our faith in the living water of God’s Word to keep us alive during our own enemy’s flaming arrows.
When the soldier engaged in battle, he held his shield up high in front of him in order to catch the flaming arrows of the enemy as he advanced in combat. The shield was in front of his body; without the shield, the soldier was left exposed and offensive weapons did not matter if he could not thwart the attacks and advance his position.
This is also true for Christians when the enemy attacks us. As we march forward for His kingdom, maturing in the faith and making bigger impacts for His glory, we will be attacked. It doesn’t matter if we are babes in the faith or ol’ gray hairs of the faith because if we are making progress, the enemy is watching and will shoot the arrows of pride, insecurity, addictions, fear and many more our way. If our shield of faith is not watered and oiled every day, we lower our shield and slow our advance. If we ignore our faith and allow it to go undeveloped we will discover that the arrows have the opportunity to produce great sorrow and pain. Sometimes we don’t even know the arrows have hit us until we are knee-deep in a trial or alarming circumstances in our lives.
Staying strong in our faith is a life – long endeavor. Peter says in 1 Peter 1:4-5 that we are kept by the power of God through faith (NASB). When we have God’s power and strong faith, the enemy’s darts become mere duds and we be spiritually equipped to hold a strong position against our enemy. His attacks will simply slide off our faith and his attempts to manipulate our thoughts will not be effective.
The following paragraphs may provide us with examples as to “how” we can keep our shields of faith oiled and maintained:
- The best way to stay strong in our faith is to begin each day with God and conclude each evening with God and keep Him alive in us all through the day. We should not allow a busy schedule to come before our Creator and Sustainer. Each morning plan 10, 15, 30, or 45 (building up to) minutes to enjoy His presence and we will see how well the day goes rather than deny Him the first fruits of our day.
- Keep in tune during your tasks to speak to Him, let Him know your feelings about your co-workers, your fears, frustrations and always be thankful for everything because this will produce in us an awareness of His presence and soon we will find ourselves with a closer relationship and desire to be with Him.
- Plan every day to read His Word and develop a reading plan for your schedule because it is when we read or hear His Word that we hear His will for us. As Christians, we often hear the statement “How can I know God’s Will for my life” or “How do I hear Gods voice?”, This is one answer to those common question. Keeping a favorite Christian artist on your mp3 player or preset stations will help us worship Him and feel the emotions the Holy Spirit places in us for being part of His world. Before turning in at night, instead of watching 1 or 2 hours of TV to relax, watch half as much and use the other half to read a Classic such as CS Lewis or Pilgrims Progress, which will indeed help us sleep better as well.
Through these practices and growing into more practices such as the spiritual disciplines of the faith, we keep our shield well oiled and moist, ready to be used at any given moment. When we are in a loving relationship with our Creator and His Spirit in us through Christ, we can be assured that our protection is secure and our destiny is in the presence of the Holy Trinity forever.
- Have you any examples where you’ve allowed your shield to become cracked and therefore have been hit by a fiery dart? What caused it and what was it like? How did you overcome? How can you use that as a teaching moment or discipling example to others around you?
2. How can you help others begin changing their daily patterns in order to provide to them a well watered and oiled shield of faith?