SPIRITUAL WARFARE 5: 'THE SHIELD OF FAITH'
'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. 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’.
In the above passage, Paul writes that we should take the shield of faith in order to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
What can we learn from Ephesians 6:16?
These are the key takeaways from Ephesians 6:16:
1. Faith is a shield
In warfare, shields are designed to protect the body and to block attacks. This explains why Satan mostly goes FIRST for faith whenever he decides to attack God's children. When Satan wants to attack God's children, he focuses on disarming them from their faith. When Satan spoke to Eve in the garden of Eden, he twisted his conversation in a manner that would make her doubt God's command and promise of death in case she would eat the forbidden fruit (ref. Genesis 3:1-4).
In Luke 22:31, Jesus prayed that Peter's faith would not fail when faced with Satan's request to sift him. Jesus prayed for Peter's faith because He knew that Satan would attack Peter's faith first before anything else. Satan wants to pull down our faith because he knows that faith is the shield which will extinguish his flaming arrows.
Faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17). In order to pull your shield down, Satan just needs to make you doubt what you heard from God.
2. The attacks of Satan are flaming arrows
As described by Paul, Satan's attacks are flaming arrows. This explains why many people under satanic attacks end up seeing their lives burnt to the ground. Fire is designed to consume and , without the protective shield of faith, the attacks of satan will ultimately burn or decimate its targets.
3. The size of you shield matters
A couple of times in the Bible, Jesus complained about 'how little' the faith of His disciples was. Since the shield represents faith, it logically means that the size of your shield will also matter. Let's all face it: 'God loves us all BUT we each have different sized faith. Many Christians deeply struggle because their shields (faith) are too small to counteract all the flaming arrows of the enemy. Based on the rebukes and complaints of Jesus over the small size of his disciples faith, we can conclude that it is not ok to remain with a 'little faith or a little shield. Therefore, we should aspire to have large shields .
4. Maintain faith through works
'Faith without works is dead' (James 2:17).
If faith can die, then it also means that it has to be maintained.
Let me give you an example to illustrate my point: ' In order to grow, a baby has to be fed. If a baby does receive any form of feeding, he/she will die of starvation. So it is with faith. When we come to Christ, we all receive an initial form of faith that comes in a small portion. However, we have to grow our faith by feeding it with actions based on the message we hear from God. If we don't feed our faith,it will die.'
The passage of Matthew 7:24-27, clearly indicates that it is not enough to just listen to Jesus' words. In addition to what we hear from Jesus, we also have to practice what He says through actions. Your faith will not grow when you refuse to act upon Jesus' words.
5. Don't be fooled!
Don't be fooled by any lukewarm preacher or teacher. Having 'little faith' is not a compliment in the Kingdom of God. I understand that we all start somewhere in our journey in Christ and it will be logical that the beginners or a newborn in Christ would start with little faith. However, it is mandatory for every believer to grow their faith. It is inexcusable to remain with little faith in the long term, because it may endanger your life on warfare day.
Please read the following passages : 'Matthew 8:26, Mark 16:12-14, Matthew 17:19-20'. What are their common denominators when it comes to Faith? Have you noticed something?
If you read the three above-mentioned passages, you will notice that 'having little faith' won't get you far nor praise from Jesus... You cannot settle for 'little faith'.
You have to feed your faith and as a result, you will have a larger shield to better extinguish the flaming darts of satan.