The Whole Armor of God – Part 4
“above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one”
The shield of faith is there to protect the whole body. The belt of truth, the breast plate of righteousness and the shoes of preparation for the Gospel of peace are foundational for taking up the shield! This means without the truth, without having the right standing with God and without having the willingness to share the Gospel with others, you cannot activate the shield of faith. The belt gives us the readiness to use the faith. Our truthfulness to God, to His word and to fellow human beings gives us the back support and readiness to unleash the power of faith to operate for us. Our right standing with God keeps the faith activated and the readiness for the Gospel of peace keeps it engaged. As the darts of the enemy come from different directions, readiness, stability and mobility make us very effective in the operation of the shield.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The shield of faith is the substance and the evidence of God’s power and presence in our lives. The shield that Paul’s metaphor would have brought in mind for his first century audience was not a small disc but a large, body-length shield that a Roman soldier used to shelter his entire body. This shield effectively blocks the fiery darts of the enemy. The shield is one of the weapons that is always on the move. This is because the enemy’s missiles come from different angles and at different speeds. There is nothing called a static shield, but it is needless to say that our shield of faith needs to be dynamic. That is why James says “faith without action is dead” (James 2:17).
The darts of the enemy are aimed to hurt the vital organs. Our heart and mind are the main targets of the adversary. The three Hebrew children in the Book of Daniel chapter 3 stood looking at the very site where they were to be put to death. The edict had gone out: they were to be thrown, alive and bound, into a furnace heated to seven times its usual fervor. Everyone watching understood: this was an execution. This was what happened when you disobeyed the king. They made the choice to defy the king’s decree with their faith in the living God of Israel.
When King Nebuchadnezzar had become aware of their insubordination, he had summoned the rebels and given them an ultimatum: worship the statue or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Their response is very noteworthy:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up'” (Daniel 3:16-18).
These three Hebrew children used the shield of faith to stand up to the world’s most powerful political leader of that time!
Doubts and fears can erode this shield –
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)
The eyes of our faith need to be focused on Jesus and Him only. As we take our eyes away from the Lord and start looking around at the circumstances and situations, knowingly or unknowingly, it weakens the faith. Then we start sinking and the rest of our armor gets battered!
When the Roman army joined its shields together, it became an almost unstoppable force. And if we, the children of God join hands together in faith, we become a formidable force well-able to stand against every attack of the enemy.
May the Lord give each one of us the wisdom and understanding to exercise this most precious weapon -the shield of faith- in the everyday battles of our lives.
Pastor Dr. AK George
Ozark Christian Tabernacle