Put your Shield up!

Keep God Between You and the fiery darts and flaming missiles

by Edward Langenback

© 9/15/00

Ephesians 6:16, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

Paul continues his comparison of the armor of God and the Roman armor with the shield. For the Roman soldier, it was a large oblong, four cornered shield that could easily block any arrow, spear, or javelin aimed at the solder. Without the shield, he was vulnerable to any and all missiles aimed at him. The Christian also has a shield, faith, which stands between us and the many attacks and temptations that we face every day. For 'fiery darts', read "flaming missiles" the wicked one is not just taking little potshots at us, he's hitting us with serious attacks, doing everything he can to destroy our faith. Paul says "above all" making it clear that the shield (or defense) of faith is the most important aspect of the armor of God and rightly so, because faith is the foundation for our salvation and our ability to live in victory over the devil and all that he tries to attack and tempt us with, and also because faith is the only way we can ever please God:

Hebrews 11:6, "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."

In this verse we are told that pleasing God absolutely requires faith, and then given two fundamental reasons why this is true. The first is because the person that comes to God must believe that He is. This means more than simply accepting that God exists, it means believing that He is all that He says He is. Many people concede that God exists and still do not meet this requirement. The reason they don't is because while they do believe God exists, they do not, or will nor believe that He is who He has said that He is and what He wants for us and from us in His word. If you do not think that God wants you to live in divine health and that Jesus paid the price for your healing on the cross, then you cannot, and will not be healed because you are not coming to Him in faith, not believing Him or His word concerning healing.

So, seeing that faith is such an all-important part of the Christian's armor, we should take a look at just what faith is. One good definition of faith is "a conviction of the truth of something" for a more in depth definition of what the bible means when it talks about faith we need to visit, the 'faith hall of fame' in the book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

The Greek word translated 'faith' is pistis {pis'-tis} [strong's number 4102] means 'belief with the predominate idea of trust or confidence' which agrees with the definition that we started out with. The word 'substance' in the text is translated form the Greek hypostasis {hoop-os'-tas-is} [strong's number 5287] and its meaning talks about 'the thing put under, the substructure, foundation, confidence, firm trust, assurance' so you can see that faith is much more than mere believing in God, it is a trust and confidence in God and what He has promised us and made available to us. You can also see that by 'substance', the writer of Hebrews is not simply saying that faith is what something hoped for is made of, but that faith is the foundation and assurance of that hope.

The next important word in this verse to examine is 'hoped'. In modern everyday usage, hope has come to mean something synonymous with 'wish', as in 'I hope I get that raise' where the person saying it is expressing that they wish that they would get the raise, but that they do not necessarily expect to actually get it. The actual meaning of the word hope is to expect with desire, to anticipate eagerly, and the Greek word translated 'hoped' in this verse agrees with that definition. It is elpizo {el-pid'-zo} [strong's number 1679] and means 'to wait with joy and full confidence' It is derived from elpis {el-epice'} [strong's number 1680] and means 'to anticipate, usually with pleasure, joyful and confident expectation'

So we can see that hope as the bible talks about is not the watered down 'I wish this were so and really want it but I do not actually expect it.' But rather more like, 'I know that this is going to happen and I am excited about it, eagerly anticipating and fully expecting it' and that faith, a full confidence and trust in God and what He has promised us is the foundation for our eager anticipation of what God has promised us. We know that He has promised us that He will provide for all of our needs, and we rest in the full confidence that He will, and in fact already has.

Reading through the rest of Hebrews chapter 11 you see examples of some of the great personalities in the bible and how they lived by and acted on their faith in God. You see also that God Himself operates by faith:

Hebrews 11:3, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

Take a look at genesis chapter one, everything that God created, was preceded by 'God said'. He spoke what He wanted to happen, and because He spoke with full confidence and trust that what He spoke would come to pass and did not doubt in His heart (innermost being), it did. What most people today does not know, understand or believe, is that because we are made in God's image, this works the same way for us! For Christian and non Christian alike, anything that you say in full confidence and trust and do not doubt in your innermost being that what you say will come to pass, then you will have what you say.

Mark 11:23-24, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

This is the kind of faith that pleases God, it is the kind of faith that allows us to receive the healing that Jesus paid for on the cross. It's the faith that makes it possible to not only be saved, but to be led by His Spirit and become one of His children. This faith is strong enough to keep us steadily in the will of God, despite all of satan's attacks and temptations.

If he tries to tempt you to surrender to sickness for example, you can open the bible and tell him, speaking out loud in faith, 'Jesus carried my sicknesses and diseases (Matt 8:17) and by His stripes I was healed (1 peter 2:24), so I am not going to accept this sickness and disease, and in the name of Jesus The Anointed One I command it to leave me and I command this body to be healed!'

So Christians, pick up that shield of faith, hold it high and don't let go of it for a second, even if it seems to get heavy and hard to hold sometimes. satan's attacks are aimed at destroying this powerful tool because he knows that without it,you are totaly without hope, and open to be used by him and ultimately destroyed. He knows that if you let the shield of faith drop, then he can raise so much doubt and fear in your mind that you could ultimately turn your back on God and throw away the salvation that was bought with the very blood of God itself.