14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
Ephesians 6: 14 -18
Welcome back to our ongoing examination of the Armour of God. In this article, I will examine the shield of faith in verse 16 of Ephesians 4 :
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Matthew 11 verse 12 tells us that the Kingdom of God suffers violence every day and the violent take it by force. The violence of which the scripture speaks is an ongoing war between two kingdoms that seek to establish dominion over the earth. One is the Kingdom of God and the other is from the usurper Satan, and his Kingdom. When we receive salvation we become citizens and also a part of God’s army. To receive what belongs to the citizens we must be aware of our entitlements and how to effectively possess it. To function effectively as soldiers we must be aware of our role and the armory that is available to us.
All soldiers must know the intricacies of their armour and how to effectively use it before wading into battle. One piece of the armour that the children of God must yield is the shield of faith. What is this shield you may ask? Isn’t that archaic in this dispensation?
Shield of Faith
I assure you it is not. It is just as relevant today as it was yesterday. Our fight is not physical but spiritual. Time does not exist in the spiritual realm. Therefore, the shield remains unchanged over the millenias.
A shield may be used both offensively and defensively in battle. Defensively it offers protection from oncoming missiles. The yielder may use it to block them. If advancing as a phalanx, it can be locked with that of fellow soldiers to create an impenetrable wall. Offensively, it allows you to block or hamper the enemy, while delivering a critical blow.
Thick metallic shields were used for protection in the era when the Paul wrote about the Armour. It was necessary as warriors used swords, spears and other items to bludgeon the enemy to death. This is not the case now. Our shields are space weapons, drones, cyber shields and security. Whatever the form the purpose of the shield still stands, it offers the yielder protection.
Our shield is not physical but is an impenetrable immaterial barrier. It is an edge of protection that deflects all that the enemy of our soul throws at us. This shield is sustained by faith in God and being accepted as righteous before God. Job was a skillful yielder of the shield of faith. It gave him an edge of protection around him. This kept Satan from touching him until God removed it.
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.(Job 1:9-10)
Loosing Your Shield
God removed Job’s shield and allowed the enemy to inflict him. The infliction that befell job came from the enemies fiery darts. These were illness, disease, gossip, rumours, slander, accusations, guilt, shame, doubt, fear, worries, anxiety, depression, etc. Just like Job, they may affect our finances, relationships, family, health and many other areas of our lives. These are part of a well orchestrated plot to initially cause us to forget the promises of God. The pains from the process can result in murmuring and complaining. If we continue to react to the situation, we may enter a place of disbelief and self-reliance. This is the initial step of stealing what God has given to us. (Jeremiah 17:5-8; Hosea 4:6)
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. (John 10:10)
The second stage in the attack, with the fiery darts, is to cause spiritual death. A complete removal of the victim from the presence of God. After the individual’s spirit is killed then comes its destruction. God destroys it if the person dies while in sin (without repenting and accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour). This leads to the individual receiving the judgement of God and being condemned to eternal punishment.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
John 10:10 also tells us that the the Lord wants to live free of the attacks from the enemy. He wants to give us a full and rich life. An abundant life allows us to experience the peace, love, joy, happiness and good success that comes from being a disciple of Christ. It demands that we exercise faith in God. What is faith you may ask?
Faith is an unwavering belief that we have received what we hope for before we have gotten it. The belief is so strong that we can literally picture and accept, in our hearts, that the intangible is real.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)
There are various types and levels of faith but this study is not intended as a treatise in faith. It is meant to teach you how to yield your faith as a shield. Despite the type or level of faith, all are sustained and built from encounters and experiences with God. These encounters teaches us to accept the Word of God without wavering.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ :and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)
Patriarch’s in the Old Testament demonstrated their faith by their experiences. Abraham had to wait 25 years for God to fulfill his promise of providing him with an heir through Sarah. At 100 years old God fulfilled his promise when Sarah had long pass the child bearing age. (Hebrews 11:8-12) It was faith in Jehovah that allowed Moses to deliver the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt and lead them through the Red Sea. (Hebrews 11:24-29) It was by faith that Elijah prayed and there was no rain on the land for 3 years. Then he prayed and God released rain from the heavens (James 5:17-18). We also see Esther exercising great faith, after turning the hearts of the people back to God and besieging God for their lives. She exercised her faith by appearing in the presence of the King without an invitation. An act that could have forfeited her life. God was pleased with her faith in Him and granted her favour with the King. He pardoned her transgression and subsequently granted her every wish. She and all the people were delivered from impending death (Esther 2-9). It was by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, working with him, that Jesus walked on water and healed many people of various sicknesses and diseases as depicted in the four Gospels (Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18). Paul exercised great faith also when he prayed over handkerchiefs and other materials and released them to the people for their healing and freedom from demonic oppression and possession (Acts 19:11-12).
For faith to be activated it must be exercised. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26). James 2, verses 14-25, also teaches that works are the acts of kindness, caring and love for others. These are demonstrations of our faith. Our works are also demonstrated by our acts of obedience to the instructions of God. Sometimes these works arise from direct encounters with God. All of these experiences build our faith. They teach us to rely on the promises of God and not enter into doubt, wavering and unbelief.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Exercising faith in the promises and provisions of the Lord allows us to overcome the wiles of the enemy. This is seeing the intangible before it materialises. It does not simply arise from an overactive imagination but a walk with the Lord where we come to know him as Jehovah Jireh, our provider, and El Shaddai, God Almighty, or any of his other natures.