10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The Apostle Paul talks about the weapons we have access to in order to defend ourselves from the enemy of our soul. The armor of God provides everything we need to be victorious over the arrows the enemy shoots at us. Having the armor and knowing how to use them are two different things. Paul instructs us to “put on” the whole armor of God daily to prevail against the enemy. Today we are going to look at the 4th piece in the armor of God which is the shield of faith.
The shield of faith is a defensive part of the armor. These shields were not little round shields used in jousting, they were large rectangle shields. They stood about six to eight feet high and three to four feet wide. They were not simply held in front of the soldiers but they were side by side almost forming a wall. They call that a phalanx where soldiers walk in a formation. This would stop any spears, rocks, or arrows from getting around their individual shield, not to mention the flaming arrows that would burn or scar them.
The enemy is called the father of lies. He is always using the weapon of accusation. Satan accuses believers of their sin and unworthiness to belong to the kingdom of God. He does this not to lead us to repentance but to lead us to despair in order to paralyze us in our walk with Christ. He knows the power of our relationship with Jesus. We are justified by our faith. Our saving faith in Christ is the shield that protects us from the accusations of the enemy.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
My trust in God is only strengthened as I allow the faith of God to increase in my life. My faith increases when I spend time saturating in the word of God and exercising the spiritual muscles that are built through my consistency. As my faith increases, so does my ability to fight off the attacks of the enemy. I think it is interesting that my shield of faith is stronger and more effective when I am walking with other believers. When we combine our faith together then we form a wall of defense that nothing can get through. This is why it is good to come to church and be with other believers. It is no coincidence that many struggle when they have been away from other believers who sharpen them.
So when you feel attacked in your spirit then go where other believers will be standing beside you and worshipping the One True God. We have many things to celebrate. One of them is a healthy, unified body of believers that stand strong together. I love our church!
May God continue to strengthen you and make you stronger than the pull of this world. I am looking forward to being together this Sunday as we stand strong in the powerful name of Jesus.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene