The Shield of Faith
The fourth piece of armor Paul tells us to take up is the shield of faith, which allows us to “extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16B). The shield that a Roman soldier carried into battle was about four-and-a-half feet square. It was a huge shield that would even cover part of the body of the soldier fight beside the shield-holder. So Roman soldiers lined up side by side in close formation with their shields together, all of them were covered as they advanced. What is the shield of faith that is able to protect you from anything Satan cover ever fire at you? It is acting on the truth that you say you believe. You take up the shield of faith when you take the truth that you “amened” on Sunday and live it out on Monday. One of the best examples of what I’m talking about is Joshua at the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6). God told Joshua to have the Israelites march around the city once a day for seven days, and then march around seven times on the seventh day. That must have seemed like a foolish thing to do. It didn’t make sense militarily. It certainly wasn’t accepted strategy for warfare. But God commanded Joshua to do it, He promised to fight Israel’s battle. So no matter how it looked to anyone else, Joshua took up the shield of faith and obeyed God. And God delivered Jericho into Joshua’s lap. I’m also reminded of Naaman, the Syrian commander who was covered with leprosy (2 Kings 5). Elisha told Naaman to go and dip seven times in the Jordan River to be cleansed. Naaman got insulted, because the Jordan River is a dirty, muddy river. He didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his servants by having to dip in the Jordan River. But his servants convinced him to do it, and Naaman did what God’s prophet told him to do.
See, obeying God can sometimes seem foolish, difficult, or downright embarrassing. But God wants us to trust him even when it doesn’t make sense to trust him. At times like these, we need to pick up our shield of faith and obey. I was once counseling a couple having martial problems. I gave the husband some things to work on and I told him, “These things may be hard to do right now. But because they are based on the Word of God, I believe if you’ll do them your marriage will improve.” He came back later and asked for some more things he could do! What God asks for us to do may be hard at the time, but our response of faith can extinguish the enemy’s flaming arrows. If you remember those old TV westerns, you know the damage that flaming arrows can do. The wagon train would be fighting off the Indians, with the wagons in a circle. But then a few Indians would set fire to their arrows and shoot them. Those arrows weren’t aimed at the settlers behind the wagons. They were aimed at the canvas tops of the wagons, which would burst into flame. Why did the Indians want to set the wagons on fire? First to distract the settlers and get them fighting the fires, because they couldn’t fight the fires and the Indians at the same time. But the main reason for setting the wagons on fire was to get rid of the settlers’ protection. With the wagons burned down, they wouldn’t have anything to hide behind.
Satan wants to hit us with as many flaming arrows as he can. That way, while we’re fighting one fire he can hit us with another. Ever had days like that? Sure you have. So have I. The flaming arrows are hitting all over the place. And if we don’t get all the fire put out, Satan will burn down our protection. The question is, how can you put out Satan’s fires? Answer: You can’t. But the shield of faith can. If you will act on God’s Word and believe him, God will send his angelic host to snuff out the Satan’s fiery arrows as they come in.