A shield is only effective when it is held in place. Away from its bearer, it offers no protection. [Ephesians 6:16] says:
“… above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.”
We have a responsibility to take up our Shield of Faith, know our enemy, and face our shield towards him in order to extinguish his fiery darts.
1. Take up the Shield of Faith.
The Shield of Faith is already made, and it lies waiting for us to pick it us. [Ephesians 2:8] says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” We are saved by grace, but we are also saved through faith and these are both of God. It is the Holy Spirit that allows us the sight to believe in Christ [John 16:13-14], and so it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to have faith through which we receive God’s grace.
To some extent we can be shielded by the faith of others. [1 Corinthians 7:14] tells us that the “unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise [their] children would be unclean, but as it is, they are godly.” In Genesis, we see how Lot benefitted from the blessings of Abraham who had faith in God. However, we ourselves are ultimately responsible for holding up our shield of faith for without it, we will eventually come to death. The story of the wise and foolish virgins in[Matthew 25] demonstrates this as the foolish virgins were not able to share the oil in the lamps of the wise virgins and therefore missed the coming of the bridegroom and His wedding feast.
The Shield of Faith is already before us. So pick it up, and dare to believe the truth of Christ.
2. Know what you are shielding yourself from.
Ephesians tells us that the Shield of Faith will help us “quench the fiery darts of the evil one.” What do these darts look like? How can we stay alert so that we can manoeuvre our shield to protect against these?
Firstly, we need to know we have an enemy. [1 Peter 5:8] says:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
Here we are given a warning that the devil is always looking to devour. Our instruction is to resist him and remain steadfast in faith. There is encouragement in knowing we are not alone; that the church, our brothers and sisters everywhere, are also fighting to stand their ground against the darts of the enemy.
What do these darks look like? I think of Job, attacked relentlessly by Satan who wanted to prove that Job’s faith was founded not in God, but in what he received from God. The Bible shows us how Satan attacked Job in many ways:
- His livestock were stolen
- His servants and all his children were killed
- He was afflicted with boils all over his body
- His wife told him to “Curse God and die!”
- His friends accused him of sinning
- He felt broken and full of despair
In the book of Job, we see a flurry of persistent darts thrown at Job – loss of possession, loss of status, false accusation, loss of family, loss of friendship, loss of self-confidence, loss of hope. The devil tries everything to make Job doubt. Ultimately, he is trying to make Job lose faith in God. The devil tries to take away everything “good”, everything “blessed” from Job’s life but despite all of this, God remains God – always good, always faithful, always omnipotent.
If we think about our own lives, where does our faith come from? Is there anything that causes us to question God, or turn away from Him? The darts of the enemy try to make us think life is being stolen from us, when in reality our life is hidden in Christ and cannot be taken away. His darts are full of doubt, temptation and suffering, but we have a shield that knows life through faith in Christ.
[John 10:10] – “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
3. Face your shield against the fiery darts of the devil.
There is no point facing your shield left, when a volley of arrows is approaching your right. We need to face our Shield of Faith towards the enemy’s attack. What does this look this? [Hebrews 11:1-3] tells us this:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
Declaration is powerful. It is faith. It is choosing to believe God is who He says He is, even in the midst of doubt or trouble. We can declare God’s victory, His faithfulness, His love, and His identity despite a broken world. We can declare God’s hope in the face of fear. We can declare God’s light in the darkness. We can hold up our Shield of Faith in declaration of His word and see every fiery dart of the devil’s extinguished in the life of Christ.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”