Summary: Step out in faith and begin to obey the Word of God. The transformation that will take place in your life will amaze even you.
Get Into the Wheelbarrow
(Assert Your Faith)
Introduction: This is week five in our series “Eight Essential Exercises for Building a Better Body.” The first exercise we examined was “allocating strength.” We investigated our need to find our strength in the Lord. Without His strength, we can’t even complete the rest of the exercises and our relationships will suffer.
Secondly we considered our need to make certain that our relationships are supported by and grounded in integrity. Without that belt of truth strapped around us, we cannot stand and our relationships crumble.
We then studied the need to access the righteousness of Christ. We need to be right with God before we can be right in our relationships with others, and the way we get right with God is we allow the righteousness of Christ to be given to us. And then we ask him to fill us, to dwell in us and actually change our character so that we are truly a righteous people.
Last week we looked at our need to be actively preparing to advance. If our relationships are going to be healthy, God honoring relationships, we must be prepared to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ into those relationships with our words and our actions. A lack of preparation leaves us susceptible to defeat by the enemy.
Today I want us to explore the role that faith plays in our relationships with others, and in our relationship with God. If a part of the reason we exist is to bring glory and honor to God, if we are to please God, then, by necessity, we must be a people of faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
If our relationships are going to be healthy, growing, God-honoring relationships, they must be marked by true faith. We also need that faith if we are going to honor others in our relationships.
Read with me from Ephesians 6:10-18 again.
Ep. 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ep. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ep. 6:12 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.
Ep. 6:13 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.
Ep. 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Ep. 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Ep. 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ep. 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ep. 6:18 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 saints.
Paul tells us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” In Paul’s day the shield of the Roman soldier was a large rectangular shield made of wood, leather and metal. When a company of soldiers would stand shoulder to shoulder and hold their shields out in front of them it made a wall that protected the whole company from the flaming arrows sent their way by the enemy.
Often, in first century battles, an army would take a team of archers who would dip their arrows in tar and light them on fire. They would then launch volley after volley of these flaming arrows at an advancing army. Having flaming arrows shot in your general direction tended to slow you down a bit. Being hit by one was even less helpful. So the soldier’s shield was designed to take the hits from these arrows, allowing the flames to flicker and die, keeping the advancing army safe.
Our spiritual enemy is very good at shooting flaming arrows in our direction and he especially loves to target our relationships. Often he’ll fire in an arrow of jealousy, or of distrust. Sometimes he’ll shoot at us with temptation. At other times he may launch a volley of frustration and misunderstanding into our relationships. He has many arrows aimed at your relationships at home, work, church, and so on. That’s why Paul tells us to take up the shield of faith.