“In a world of increasing difficulty and despair, there is one priceless commodity that we cannot do without: hope! When everything comes crashing down, and there seems to be no way out, what is it that anchors our soul, enables us to persevere in the face of hardship, and rise up again on wings like eagles? It is hope – not a languid or wistful hope that is the willful product of mere wishing, but one that is strong, certain, confidently anchored in some immutable reality. Isaiah 40:31 encourages us that all those who ‘wait for the Lord,’ those who put there hope in him, ‘will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” That is worth finding, worth laying hold of.” David Barton
“The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. For if it were not for unbelief, even the devil could do nothing. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
So what is faith?
We live by faith not be sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Mat. 17:20)
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
If faith is being sure of what we hope for, what is hope? Hope and wish are used so interchangeably today but they really mean two different things. To give a better understanding of faith here is the definitions of hope and wish from the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster 1828
- Wish – to have a desire, or strong desire, either for what is or is not supposed to be obtainable. We often wish for what is not obtainable.
- Hope – confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises.
The hope that is deferred, is the fainting of the heart; but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NASB)
Faith means absolute confidence in God, his promises, his power, and his purpose for our lives.
By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see. By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice. By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God. By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God. By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.(Heb. 11:3-13 The Message)
With that understanding of faith let’s dig into the shield of faith with confidence.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)
There were a number of different Roman shields some were used in training, some for show and some for battle. The shield in this passage was used for battle, it was:
- About four feet high and two feet wide and completely covered the Roman soldier.
- It was made of usually six layers of animal hide specially tanned and woven together so tightly it was almost like steel.
- The shields also had hooks on it that could connect with other shields to create a wall that prevented the oncoming arrows from getting through as the army advanced on the enemy.
No well-trained soldier went to battle without his shield; it was his guarantee that he would be guarded against deadly arrows.
- The arrows referenced here were made from long, slender pieces of cane and filled with combustible fluids that explode on impact.
- These were not used in normal combat but reserved for a fortified place or an encampment.
God has given each of us the measure of faith that is adequate to cover every need we have. That faith is supposed to be out front where it can completely cover and protect us.
- Our shield of faith is never to be held to our side or behind our back. We must make the choice to take the shield of faith and place it in front of us.
- If we find that we have laid down our faith at some time. If we have gotten discouraged or have stopped believing, it is never too late to pick up our shield of faith.
- Our faith will only work in our life the way it was meant to when we choose to pick it up and put it where it belongs – out in front.
- As we choose to take up the shield of faith we are in a position to thwart every single attack that the enemy throws our way.
Because the Roman soldier’s shield was leather it would become stiff and breakable if not properly taken care of. Each morning the Roman would take a vial of oil and rub it into the leather to keep it soft, supple, and pliable. This is also true about our faith.
- Without a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit our faith will become stiff and breakable.
- If we allow our faith to go undeveloped it won’t be soft, supple, and pliable.
The Roman’s also saturated their shields in water to quench the fiery arrows of the enemy
- The shields would extinguish the arrows on impact.
- When we keep our faith completely saturated in the Word of God we have the power to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the adversary.
The purpose of the shield of faith is to put us in a position to move in God’s dynamic power. 1 Peter 1:5 says “who through faith are shielded by God’s power.”
- When our faith activates the power of God it puts a protective shield between us and every demonic onslaught that might come against us.
- Rick Renner says “When the power of God and faith are operative in your life, you are like a huge army tank, with the ability to move your position forward without taking any loses!”
Satan’s covert way of coming against us is using those fiery darts that include but aren’t limited to:
- Blasphemous thoughts
- Hateful thoughts
- Doubts that can include doubts about the gospel itself
- A burning desire of sin
- An unexplainable conflict in a relationship
- Arousal of the worst most vile emotions
Satan’s goal is to fill us with unbelief that will eventually destroy us. These fiery arrows are meant to do something destructive and horrendous in our mind and emotions. They are meant to enflame us like a fire burning out of control.
- If these fiery arrows have been effective in our life it is evident that we have a crack in our shield of faith.
- If we begin to believe the lie, the falsehood is most likely empowered to become a reality.
- As long as he can get us to think inaccurately about God, ourselves, or others he can take us down a dangerous trail.
Faith in God and His word protects us from our enemy. Here are three examples of how faith can remain strong:
- Trusting in God’s character and that He always has our best in mind.
- Trusting in God’s promises and His Word.
- Trusting in God’s purpose and timing. God’s ways are not always easy but are always the best.
How much damage can Satan do if by faith we cast those fiery arrows down?
- Those arrows cannot harm us if they are lying on the ground and that is what the shield of faith does for us. It puts out the fire of the devil’s hellish accusations.
- As we keep our shield of faith out front and completely covering us, the arrows will bounce right off us.
- When we are walking in faith that is anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, our faith will defend us.
We, as believers, are also called to march together, holding our closely connected shields of faith out in front of us. Anytime there is division in the body of Christ the enemy will have a foothold. When we are unified we will find the strength we need to stand against the enemy. When we have that kind of unity among believers, it doesn’t matter what the devil brings against us we will be able to steadily and aggressively move forward.
Lord, I thank You for giving me a shield of faith that completely covers me from head to toe. I don’t have to constantly succumb to the devil’s attacks. By holding my shield of faith above all, and out in front so that it covers me completely, as You intended it to do, I can be protected from the attacks that the enemy would like to wage against me. I repent for the times I’ve let my shield lay at my side, while I stayed busy complaining about the devil giving me fits. I realize now that it’s up to me to pick up my shield of faith, and put it where it belongs. So with Your help, Lord, I am reaching out right now to pick it up, to hold it out front, and to do my part to make sure the enemy has no access to me! I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that God has given me a shield of faith that protects me against the works of the enemy. If I will hold my faith out front — and today I commit myself to doing just that — God’s Word guarantees that this mighty shield will thwart the fiery darts that the enemy wants so desperately to throw at me. My shield will cause those darts to bounce off, thereby protecting me from being struck. I will walk with my shield of faith out in front, so that it covers me, as God intended for it to do. As long as I do that, I can be confident that I will move forward in life without the enemy winning any full-scale attack against me! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!