Ephesians 6:16. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
It suddenly gets real here in verse 16. Flaming darts! Being fired at us. What?!?
But are most of us even aware of this?
Where I live and pastor, there are all kinds of people who work for secret parts of our government. These folks are aware of all kinds of dangers around the world that I am oblivious to. They have a knowledge that I don’t have. They can name our nation’s enemies all over the world, describe their tactics and motivations, and work diligently every day to extinguish their effectiveness.
Unfortunately I am usually as oblivious to the dangers in my spiritual life too. What about you? Are you aware of the Enemy’s flaming darts? His seeds of doubt, and fear? His little lies that weaken your faith in God and Christ and his truth? His guilt trips that make you doubt your righteousness? His system of half-truths that make you doubt the gospel?
Take up Faith
Roman soldiers had two kinds of shields. One was small and used for blocking in hand to hand combat. This is NOT the shield Paul is talking about here. The other was a shield that was roughly the size of a door, a defensive shield used by the army as they marched together into battle. In fact, these shields could be linked together to form a nearly impenetrable wall for the army. That’s our shield.
Our shield is faith.
Faith sealed us in the Holy Spirit (1:13).
Faith generates God’s resurrection power in us (1:19).
Faith in God’s grace saved us (2:8).
Faith gives us boldness and access to God (3:12).
Faith allows us to experience the indwelling Christ (3:17).
THE faith unites us (4:5).
Unity in THE faith is our goal (4:13).
And now faith is our shield (6:16).
But faith in what?
Never faith in faith. Faith is of extreme importance to be sure. But our faith is not in our faith, for then it would be in ourselves. Too many Christians have left THE faith because their faith was misplaced. Their faith was in themselves. In their own righteousness. Their own peace (or lack thereof). Their own version of the truth. When we look at our faith, it will always look lacking. It will always fall short. It will never be enough.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus!
Our faith must be in the One whose faith was always enough. Always perfect. Always secure. Always rightly directed at God. The faith that saved us and the faith that shields us is faith in the grace of God through Jesus Christ that we now have because we are IN Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the object of our faith. God is our shield.
Psalm 3:3. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Proverbs 30:5. Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
God’s promises protects us. Like a soaking wet shield could quench flaming arrows from the enemy, God’s promises extinguish the flaming darts of Satan. Every lie must be overridden by a promise.
Satan says you’re not loved…God promises, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
Satan says you’re guilty…God promises, “there is now no condemnation.”
Satan says you’re a victim…God promises, “You are more than a conqueror.”
Satan says God doesn’t like you, try harder…God promises, “come boldly into my presence.”
Satan says you’re salvation has been lost…God promises, “nothing can grab you out of my hand.”
Satan says you’re a homeless orphan…God promises, “I have prepared a home for you my child.”
Live in Faith
We must meet every lie with a truth. Every fire must be doused with the water of the Spirit. His gospel is our righteousness and peace. Our shield. The promise of God that we are united to Christ and share in all that is his is our shield against the fiery darts of Satan. Now we must actually claim these promises.
In the wilderness, Jesus claimed the promises of God as his protection and quenched the Devil’s attacks. In the garden, Jesus trusted with great faith the will of God and dispelled the Enemy once again. We now do the same. We trust the New Covenant promises of God. We walk by faith not by sight. We see beyond what our eyeballs see. We see with faith eyes. A reality beyond this reality. Beyond our feelings. Beyond what the world tells us. Beyond even what our own hearts tell us. For when our hearts condemn us, God is stronger than our hearts (1 John 3:20).
“To live is Christ” has placed us into Christ and into his faith. His faith was perfect when ours fails. His faithfulness was perfect when ours falls short. We are shielded by not only our faith IN Jesus but also the faith OF Jesus. A faith that trusted the promises of God. Promises that never failed Christ, and therefore they will never fail us.