Dear Precious Friends,
On this Magnificent Monday, this gift from God to give us another day to glorify Him, live for Him and live His truth, we start our day filling ourself with His word, taking it in so we can stand firm against any schemes of the enemy. When talking about the armor of God, we go to Ephesians and specifically today, we are talking about the shield of Faith from Ephesians 6:16.
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Although it may seem odd to us that we need to put on armor of any type—after all, we tend to live in a society where we don’t have to suit up for battle—we can often forget that a spiritual battle wages around us every day (2 Corinthians 10:4).
And if we don’t put on our armor, we leave ourselves in a vulnerable position on the spiritual battlefield.
Let’s focus in on one element of the armor of God in particular: the shield of faith.
When we envision a shield, we may think of a star-spangled one that Captain America holds.
But back when Paul had written this passage in Ephesians, he likely had different imagery in mind. Roman shields, depending on the type, could protect a good portion of the body. Especially in the Roman phalanx and legion formation, a soldier could protect most parts of his body with his shield (with the exception of the lower legs and feet).
The shield of faith, likewise, covers our most vulnerable spots: especially our heart. This heavy shield can withstand the impact of fiery blows from the devil.
Ellicott’s Commentary agrees with this, showing how the shield in this passage is supposed to protect the full length of the body from the flaming arrows of the devil. In fact, another commentary, by MacLaren, suggests the word used for shield here has a similar root as the word for “door.” This shield covered the entirety of the body.
Back during the time Paul had written this passage, soldiers would set arrows on fire as a battle tactic. What was the only way to extinguish them and protect the whole body? By having a shield likely as long as a door.
What do the flaming arrows (Psalm 7:13, Psalm 120:4) represent?
Many have suggested these arrows represent ‘doubt’ (as faith can quench doubt). Others have said these arrows can represent anything that impedes our spiritual growth such as discontentment or fear.
No matter what arrows the devil uses to attack us, we need to take up the shield of faith to protect ourselves from his assaults.
The above passage from Ephesians 6 makes it clear that we need to put on all the pieces of the armor through prayer.
But the shield of faith does seem to stand out from the other pieces of armor. We come to the battle with the other pieces already on our person, but we have to “take up” the shield of faith. What does this look like?
We hold onto our faith like a shield. We have to deliberately choose faith in all circumstances. This means that when we encounter doubts, or when we find a passage of Scripture that troubles us, that we choose to hold on to faith.
So how do we take up the shield of faith? We pray that God will arm us with it in all circumstances, and we choose to take it up, even when the devil keeps firing arrows of doubt and deceit.
The shield does a lot more than take blows from arrows. The typical Roman shield could push back against the enemy and, when soldiers clumped together, could form a protective barrier.
Faith can not only protect us from the blows of the devil. It can help us push back against him.
For instance, when Satan tempts Jesus, Jesus uses his knowledge of Scripture (evidence of God) as an act of faith and pushes against Satan’s taunts (Matthew 4:1-11).
My friends, we can extinguish arrows. Not only can faith handle the impact of them, but it can put out false truths. People may say, “God is not really good.” or “God is not all-powerful.” But with our shield of faith, we can extinguish right away any lies we encounter.
When researching this scripture, the Phalanx formation was brought up often. For those of us who have no idea what this is let me share: The phalanx was an extremely strong form of heavy infantry, mainly used by the ancient Greek city states. Basically, it involved between 500 to a 1000 men in a tight formation, using their spears, all facing in one direction.
When we band with other Christians, in phalanx formation, it strengthens our faith. When we fellowship with believers and help each other through our doubts, we form a stronger barrier against the devil.
Jesus has a great deal to say about faith.
He says whatever we ask in prayer, we will receive, if we have faith (Matthew 21:22), implying what we ask is geared toward God’s plan for our lives. And those who have faith as small as a mustard seed has the ability to move mountains (Matthew 17:20).
Faith helps heal the blind man (Matthew 9:29), heals the Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13), and calls out unclean spirits (Mark 9:23-25).
In fact, Jesus placed a huge emphasis on faith throughout his ministry. He didn’t care about rituals; he simply cared about faith.
We see the shield in action in other places in the Bible.
God tells Abraham that God is his shield (Genesis 15:1, Psalm 33:20). He also refers to himself as Israel’s shield (Deuteronomy 33:29).
The Bible makes it clear that the shield comes from God and God alone, and the shield protects us.
Although God won’t shield us from tragedy or loss, he can provide us faith when we need it most. If we believe, he’ll help us in our unbelief.
My friends, we are called to take up the shield of faith in every circumstance. If we drop it for any reason, we leave ourselves very vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. The shield of faith comes from God alone, and we need to ask him to arm us with it to help protect ourselves from the devil.
We also need to consider formation. When we take up shields together, we are more protected. If we ever struggle with doubts, we need to go to fellow believers and help walk each other through our darkest moments.
Yes, my friends, that is why we have each other.
Thank you for your prayers for BEAUTY. I am sharing a beautiful prayer from Lilette Johnson from my post last night if you haven't seen it... please, we need your prayers so go back and read it.
Please pray with me:
We all come into agreement to decree and declare that the demonic assignment in Beauty’s life is terminated! We command the enemy to cease and desist all manner of operation and we command that foul and filthy spirit to depart from Beauty’s life now, in the name of Jesus! We decree and declare that Beauty has been set free from the influence of our enemy over her life. Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed! We remind the Lord that he has his angels charge over Beauty to guard her in all of her ways. That the Holy Spirit will continue to guide her into all truth and the truth will set her free. We asked the Lord to surround her with his hedge of protection so that no demonic influence can re-enter her life. We decree and declare she is healed, whole, well and free, in the name of Jesus! And we all look forward to the great report that will follow. We love you Roxanne and we stand in agreement and in prayer with you on Beauty’s behalf. What the enemy meant for evil, God will turn around for his glory, for his honor and for his renown!
Help us to take up the shield of faith. We live in a broken world where the devil will fling his arrows of discord, doubt, and deceit any chance he can get. Arm us with the shield of faith today that we may be able to extinguish his arrows and spread your Gospel to those who need to hear it. Lord, help us when we doubt, to remember your goodness, your graciousness, and who you are.
Help us stand firm in your word as we battle against rulers and authorities as we depend on your strength and use every piece of your armor. We ask this in the mighty name of Jesus.
My friends, I love this truth... We will discuss the term "it is written" in tomorrows devo. So important!
Love you and pray you have a magnificent monday armored up in the Lord.!!!