“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
Do you ever have those days, weeks, or even months where it seems like everything life throws at you pierces you to your very core? With every mental, physical, and emotional obstacle, you feel more and more exposed, defenseless, and unprotected, yet you’re not quite sure why.
I’ve had my fair share of those seasons throughout my life, and what I’ve come to find is that every single time, I can trace the corresponding feelings of doubt and desolation to the same source. They come for me with relentless momentum on the days I lay down my shield of faith to pick up the burdens of this world. The minute I make the grave mistake of removing myself from God’s blanket of grace to pursue the temptations of my self-serving agenda, they come knocking. Because the very second I try to do on my own what only He can do, I put myself at the mercy of the enemy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, friend. You and I don’t have to suffer under the weight of the world at the feet of the devil. There’s another way.
We can do as we are instructed. We can take up the shield of faith and pair it with the full armor of God to create a sustainable, fulfilled life – a life that allows us to rejoice in God’s goodness instead of wallowing in our own inadequacies.
Let’s talk about how we get there.
What is the Armor of God?
The Armor of God is described to us in Ephesians 6:10-18.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read this scripture and envision myself armed with the shield of faith and clothed with the full armor of God, I feel down right invincible.
You see, the biblical principles that make up the armor of God are all-encompassing – they equip us with every tool we need to navigate every challenge life could ever put on our path.
But why does God’s Word call special attention to our need to take up the shield of faith? What sets it apart from the other elements of the armor of God?
The Role of the Shield of Faith
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16
According to the dictionary, the term “above all,” means “more so than anything else.”
So, more so than anything else, we are to take up the shield of faith to protect ourselves from the evil people, places, and things that attempt to infiltrate our minds, bodies, and souls.
In other words, our shield of faith is our primary barrier against the enemy’s attack. It is a blanket of protection, woven with impenetrable substance, straight from the loving hands of our Creator. It is something we need so desperately, yet so often we lay it down to see how long we can make it before the next fiery dart pierces our heart and sends us spiraling back to a state of self-induced desperation.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Well, the short answer is that we’re human.
But if you know me, you know I don’t do short answers. So, let’s try again.
When we think of a “shield” in its most literal form, and particularly when paired with “armor” of any sort, we envision a piece of metal that is big enough to stand behind for protection. And almost always, when a shield is put to use in an effort to fight off the weapons of an attacker, it temporarily invades its possessor’s line of sight. The warrior knows they are about to get hit, but they trust in the powerful purpose their shield serves. They don’t have to watch the metal on metal collision take place to know the shield will do its job and get them through until the next blow comes their way.
Faith requires that same trust. It requires us to believe in what we cannot see. It means knowing that God has our best interest in mind and consequentially, resisting the urge to peek over our shield to assess the oncoming attack and see if we can formulate a more efficient plan of action.
But sometimes using faith to fight off abstract realities seems less tangible than throwing a piece of metal in front of your face to block a physical object. And that’s what makes it hard to take up our shield of faith and hold it high and steady, where it belongs.
As Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The battles we face are complex in nature, many of them amplified by our own imaginations. And while navigating their wake certainly requires common sense and a good deal of introspection, we must be careful not to overanalyze a potential threat or daunting outcome to the point that our fear becomes bigger than our faith.
Easier said than done, right?
The Good News
The good news is that God already knows that our human minds cannot comprehend the boundless reach of His Will for our lives. After all, He set the world in our hearts, “so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
That’s why He crafted a spiritual armor that we can never outgrow and why He offers us a shield of faith that is great enough to surpass the boundaries set by our worldly flaws and insecurities.
You see, we were made to be imperfect. We were made to be tested. But most of all, we were made to need Him.
And sometimes, that means that we doubt Him only for Him to prove His omnipotence, grace, and mercy time and time again.
So today I encourage you to find rest in God’s goodness. Today I challenge you to stop living in fear and start living in faith.
Because at the end of life’s long day, all that truly matters is that we can say with confidence, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Keep the faith, friend. Be God’s gladiator and watch in awe as He unveils His perfect plan for you.
10 Bible Verses to Remind You to Take Up the Shield of Faith
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Psalm 28:7)
“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19)
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31)
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9)
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5)
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27)
Until next time,