This week we want to consider what Paul meant when he wrote in Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, (take) the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
Satan has many ‘fiery darts’ in his quiver.
- He uses lives very effectively.
- He is a master at using discouragement.
- He uses many different kinds of temptations to try and seduce the believer – pre-marital sex, perverted sex, sexual unfaithfulness.
- He uses greed and the desire to succeed at all costs.
- He tries to destroy us by what others say to us or about us.
A favorite arrow is to get us to question God’s love and goodness because of all the issues we face — health, finance, failure in our relationships. These are just a few of the ‘fiery darts’ that he shoots at us, seeking to deceive and destroy us.
The Roman soldier’s battle shield was rectangular in nature and about four feet by two feet. It could protect much of the body. The shields were covered by thick leather and metal and were quite effective in stopping arrows from coming their way. The arrows were often dipped in pitch and set on fire. You can imagine how painful it would be to have one of them come in contact with your body. That is why this piece of equipment was so important.
Paul likens the shield to faith. The shield was actually very important to each of the other pieces of armor. Faith is absolutely essential to every aspect of our lives as Christians. In fact, the writer in Hebrews 11:6 wrote — “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him (God), for he/she who comes to God must believe that He is; and, that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” When we place our faith in God and His Word, we experience insight and gain confidence that we would never experience in any other way. In fact, the writer says that without faith, we can’t even please God.
The writer also says that true faith is evidenced by “diligently seeking God” For example –
Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the LORD, while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”
Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me, with all your heart.”
Amos 5:4, “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live.”
Jesus in Matthew 6:33 said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Isn’t it interesting in the model prayer, when Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, He prayed first for the kingdom of God – Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Genuine faith puts God’s name, God’s kingdom and God’s will first.
In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Walking indicates movement and action. As Christians, we go forward by faith.
In Galatians 2:20 Paul wrote – “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for Me.”
Listen to this — let it really sink in:
1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our LORD.”
Folks, God has been faithful in the past. He is faithful today and He will always be faithful in the future. If He could be unfaithful, He would not be God.
Hopefully, you can see by now why the “shield of faith” is essential to all of our living. 1 John 5:4 says “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
What is this shield of faith? It is totally trusting the God who loves us. It is totally relying on Him for wisdom, strength, guidance, protection, provision, purpose and so much more.
In Psalm 18:30 we read, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
I close with a passage that so clearly states what it means to take up and use this shield. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Folks, our LORD is greater than Satan and any flaming arrow he may shoot at us — TRUST THE LORD!
In Christ alone,