Summary: Christian faith is a powerful protection against spiritual struggles.
SHIELD OF FAITH
Ephesians 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.
1. Belt of Truth
2. Breastplate of Righteousness
3. Shoes of Gospel of Peace
Description of the Shield
Shield is made of goat skin or calf skin stretched over strong pieces of wood and the size is four feet long and three feet wide. Iron rims were fitted along the top and bottom edges and iron circle was attached to the center of the shield.
Before going to battle, the Roman soldier soaked their leather-covered shield into the water. When the fiery arrows of the enemies struck these soaked shields, the flames were immediately extinguished. As the soldier held it before him, it protected him from spears, arrows, and “fiery darts.”
In the same way, Paul commanded us to take up our shield not made of leather and wood but a shield of faith. In times of trials and temptations, our faith can provide that protection we need.
The edges of these shields were so constructed that an entire line of soldiers could interlock shields and march into the enemy like a solid wall. This suggests that we Christians are not in this battle alone.
Read 1 Peter 5.8-9. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Individual faith may sometimes fail but put them together would provide a protective shield not just for one but for many and strong shield.
Definition of Faith
Read Hebrews 11.1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Faith means to have confidence, certainty, trust, belief, and assurance. Faith in God means that you have confidence in Him, you are certain that you can rely on Him, you trust His word and promises, you believe on His plan and will, and you have the assurance that God would do what He promise to do.
Read Hebrews 11.6. And 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.
Why is God please whenever we have faith? We cannot see Him. Faith enables us to believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Someone said, “It is one thing to boldly proclaim what God can do. It is quite another to actually trust that God will do what He has promised.”
Types of Faith
1. Saving Faith – Faith that leads to our salvation. Our faith on what Christ did on the cross for all of us. Our faith that God alone can forgive and save us. This is not the faith that Paul was talking about in this verse.
2. Practical Faith - Faith that enables us to have confidence and certainty in times of difficulties. Faith that leads to our obedience. Faith that believes that God will do what he said and promised to do.
Why do we need the shield of faith?
In Paul’s day, arrows were dipped in some inflammable substance and ignited, were shot at the enemy. Satan shoots “flaming arrows” at our hearts and minds. If we do not by faith quench these darts, they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. We never know when Satan will shoot a dart at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith.
What are these “flaming arrows?”
1. Worry (Matthew 6.30)
Worry is mental distress or agitation resulting from too much concern usually for something impending or anticipated. An abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension marked by physiological signs as sweating, tension, and increased pulse.
If left unmanaged, it leads to Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. A disorder characterized by diffuse and chronic worrying of almost everything about an ordinary life.
Worrying to some extent is normal, because it is our radar that we must be responsible, cautious, and proactive. But when it becomes too much, it becomes unhealthy – insomnia, restlessness, sleep disturbances, tension headaches, etc.
Examples: Economic Crisis – loss of job, education of our children, decline in business opportunities, etc. Worrying cannot help.
Read Matthew 6.27-30. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in his entire splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?