Soul Armor, Piece Four. Ephesians 6.10-17
‘You’ve just got to have faith!’ or ‘Keep the faith, Friend!’ It is a safe, innocuous, non-committal way of saying, trust God, without taking a chance of using his name, which can be quite politically incorrect today. I hear folks say it—on television, in conversations at random places, even at church, as though just having faith, whether or not it is in God, a swami or guru, crystals or magnets, a therapist or life coach, or perhaps in the cosmos, is meant to provide some kind of strength . . . irrespective of the object in which we place our faith. Hmmm. Truthfully, that’s kinda silly. The sentiment ‘keep the faith’ usually means, ‘keep believing that things are going to work out okay’. It is often a well-wishing notion with no substance or power behind it, meant to be a sweet thought.
Our faith is only as good as the object in which we place it.
It only becomes real in our lives as we are willing to trust it.
For the fourth piece of soul armor, Paul says to take up the shield of faith. Juxtaposed with the aforementioned thoughts about just having faith in something, well, Paul’s admonition for believers to take up the shield of faith does not make a very strong defense. Take a look:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6
By way of review, when putting on the belt of truth, we walk in the truths of God, not confused, distracted or deterred by the relativistic thinking of truth. There is no such thing as your truth and my truth. Truth conforms to reality. While the devil attacks with lies and accusations shot straight to our minds, our Lord is Truth.
The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts; and as followers of Jesus Christ, he is our righteousness. Thankfully, we do not have to be good enough on our own, and yet, we are strongest when we grow to be like him in our character. ‘And shoes of peace? Peace with God describes relationship, tells us whose we are and gives us the stability to stand in him.
The shield is the fourth item of Roman armor that Paul uses to symbolize the armor a believer should don to STAND against the attacks of evil that are inevitable. The Roman soldier used several different kinds of shields. The Greek word for shield here is thureos—a shield about two-and-a-half feet wide and high, designed to protect the entire body of the soldier. The shield was made of a solid piece of wood and was covered with metal or thick leather. It was strong and made to protect the soldier and rebuff fiery darts.
Fiery darts were arrows wrapped in fabric, dipped in pitch, and just before being shot, lit on fire. The pitch burned fiercely and on impact would splatter flaming bits, igniting anything flammable in its path. In addition to piercing a person's body, such arrows inflicted serious burns on enemy soldiers and destroyed their clothing and gear.1 Paul said to use the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of Satan—hatred, anger, arrogance, covetousness, despair, fear, guilt, and temptation … all designed to take us down, and to go against God’s best for us… to choose our will over his will.
Instead, when the arrows come, we need to raise our shield/exercise our faith in what we know about the goodness and greatness and might of God. ‘Without faith, it is impossible to please God,’ the author of Hebrews wrote.2 Yet the pressure is not on us to summon up a huge amount of faith, for Jesus told us that faith in the amount of the size of a mustard seed would move a mountain.3 No, it is the Object of our Faith who proves himself sufficient … for with God all things are possible.4 Because greater is he who is in us that he who is in the world.5
So open his Word, spend time in prayer, gather with other believers on Sunday, start or join a small group to encourage each other in your faith in God . . . do your part in standing strong as a follower of Christ today.
It is not our faith that is indestructible, but rather our God! Amen.
please take a few minutes and listen to this:
Redeemer, Nicole Mullen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwpDlsBXQBY
Trust in him alone,
1 - John MacArthur, “The Believer’s Armor: God’s provision for your Protection”
2 – Hebrews 11.6
3 – Matthew 17.20
4 – Matthew 19.26
5 – 1 John 4.4