I just came back from a walk to the store. Before I left, I liberally applied sunscreen to protect my sensitive skin from the harmful rays of the sun. But do you know what? I still went out of my way to stay on the shady side of the street. Two defensive measures are more effective than one, right?
Is your outfit appropriate for a dress code which requires full armor? The Shield of Faith…
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”Ephesians 6:11-13
“Stand firm then…Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Screech – wait a minute, is this necessary when we are wearing full armor? Why are we commanded to wield a shield “in addition to all of this”? Don’t we already have an impenetrable breastplate of righteousness in place beneath it? Does God require us to suit up in frivolous extras?
I’ll be honest. I do not like to carry things. My purse is a backpack. The more pockets a garment has, the more often I wear it. I prefer to be hands-free. But God specifically tells us to take up our shield of faith. Spiritually, this is something we are commanded to carry. Why is it so important?
I cannot help but notice something amazing. This faith we are to carry – it does not simply block the attack of the enemy. What does it say? With this shield, we can extinguish the flaming arrows he shoots at us. It renders them all useless. It puts them cold and harmless on the floor at our feet.
What types of fiery darts have been shot at you lately? Accusations, doubts, worries, temptations? Have you been pierced by panic or felt the pang of inadequacy? Has temptation overtaken your willpower, or your self-discipline been defeated by desire? If so, that is an indication that you may have set your shield aside. Take stock right now – where have you placed your faith?
The flaming arrows of the evil one are meant to make us burn with regret and shame. Our enemy fires them to shake our confidence in the victory which is ours in Christ Jesus. So God includes the shield of faith to be part of His dress code of full armor. He knows it will enable us to march victoriously toward our eternal prize.
Are you familiar with Captain America? He can wield his shield like a pro! And you know what? We can become proficient with ours too. It will require perseverance, but practice makes perfect, as they say.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”James 1:2-4, emphasis mine
Friends, I’m inspired, how about you? The benefit of bolstering our faith far outweighs the effort it requires. God’s commands are always for our benefit. The shield of faith is a vital piece of armor. It is for our protection and far more. In fact, we are saved through faith, by God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…”Ephesians 2:8
“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”Hebrews 10:39
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”Hebrews 11:1, 6
How is your battle-preparedness right now? Is your Belt of Truth securely buckled? Is your Breastplate of Righteousness in place? Are your Feet Fitted with Readiness to share the Gospel? Have you taken up your Shield of Faith? Is your outfit appropriate for a dress code which requires full armor?
Next up: The Helmet of Salvation!