As Christians, God provides for us in a number of ways. But we typically turn to Him and his resources for solutions rather than prevention. I recently studied the Armor of God once again in my #timewithGod. How is it that 8 verses can translate into such a variety of application? I love that one application builds on another and delivers at a time I desperately need to learn it.
We face many difficulties in life.
But also Spiritual.
We can easily recognize and name our physical battles. We are less likely, but can acknowledge our mental challenges. But how often we glaze right over the Spiritual battles we face - yet these attacks are rampant, penetrating and destructive. In many ways the spiritual realm has it's hand in all other challenges we face - both mental and physical. In 2 Corinthians we see Paul call attention to this truth:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war with the flesh. 2 Corinthians 10:3
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
These struggles are opportunities to wage war. We are given an incredible gift in the Lord - His Armor. And not only is it provided, but He takes the time to explained it and encourage us to use it daily.
This gift is detailed in Ephesians 6:10-18.
Belt of Truth – reveals the Lies and deceptions of the devil.
Breastplate of Righteousness – protects our new identity in Christ.
Shoes of Peace – grant us peace as we boldly act on our faith.
Helmet of Salvation – is the understanding of our new self, God’s vision of us.
Sword of the Spirit – The Holy Spirit, who fights for us in the spiritual realm
All these tools help us, empower us, protect us, fight for us, but what struck me this time studying these verses, was the Shield of Faith!
Of the entire armor of God, this is the only piece that the Bible gives testimony to the result of putting it to use. That this single item we choose to “put on” will be a vital piece in defeating the schemes of the devil. Not just defeating – extinguishing. The Shield of Faith can actually PUT OUT the flaming arrows (the accusations, the lies, the threats, the struggles) the devil throws at us.
The Greek translation of the word Extinguish used here means “to suppress or stifle with a divine influence.” Meaning our choice to use the shield of faith activates GOD’s response on our behalf.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
This shield of Faith is an ACTIVE FAITH that protects and encourages. The actions we take as a result of our faith will not only protect and encourage us, but those around us. We have a tool in our tool belt to extinguish the plots, attacks and lies of the devil - Not just for ourselves, but for others we bring under our shield.
I am convinced that the shield of faith is PRAYER.
The active demonstration of “taking up our shield of faith” is to cover ourselves, our families, our friends, our enemies, and our leaders in prayer. Not just a light blanket of prayer but a deep covering.
Satan may think he has weakened our footing, caused us to question, or tainted our reputation – but he is wrong if we remain in Christ. In Christ, our footing is firmly rooted in GOD’S WORD. Our thoughts are grounded in truth, and our hearts know our true identity. So this past few months, every time I have prayed, I have envisioned myself lifting a physical shield around us - over us - as an active demonstration of my faith.
The flaming darts the devil will throw at us will not likely cease. They will come in many forms – lies, doubts, pains, or even simple things like traffic, anxiety, distractions. Our prayer time, our shield of faith, according to the Bible can extinguish ALL the flaming darts of the evil one. ALL.
I hope this encourages you to see how God intends to protect and deliver us. I pray it challenges you to consider how you are "putting on" this important piece of the armor of God. Let this drive you to your knees to bathe yourself and others in prayer.
I have prayed for people over the years when asked. But this changed my perspective. I saw that the participation I take in the lives of those around me is an active role - not a responsive role. It made praying for others a privilege, not a chore. A necessity, not an option. And I saw also how vulnerable we all are without that community around us, praying for us and us for them.