Week 19: Shield of Faith
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Ephesians 6:13-16
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3
When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior that was a personal interaction between you and God. A personal relationship began. You were not saved by the church, but do not be mistaken, you were saved to the church. And I don’t mean a building or an organization, I mean a body of believers that you now belong to.
The Bible uses imagery to describe the church like a body, an army and a family. And all of these images are intended to bring about this idea of many individual parts joined together to accomplish more than the sum of their parts. Paul thinks this is CRITICAL when it comes to spiritual warfare.
One of the enemy’s favorite tactics is to isolate the believer and lead them to believe that they don’t need anyone else in their life to know and follow God. Well Paul, in the book of Ephesians, as well as every other book of the Bible that he wrote, he would disagree with you. As he unpacks the tools that God has given us to stand against spiritual attacks, Paul instructs us in ALL circumstances to take up the shield of faith in order to extinguish the flaming darts of the enemy.
Paul has been describing the armor of a Roman soldier. And when Roman soldiers fought, they would stand side by side and they would stand back to back. And the soldiers would link their shields together and advance against the enemy as one giant force that was impenetrable to the oncoming attacks. That means that you were not only covering yourself with your shield, but you were covering your brother in arms and he was covering you. And if your brother was hit or lost his footing then you could quickly reach down and help him back to his feet.
If you’ve seen the movie “300,” then you know exactly what I’m talking about here. This is THE picture of spiritual warfare. NO BELIEVER IN JESUS SHOULD BE TAKING ON THE ENEMY ALONE! You and I need a band of brothers and sisters that is joining with us in the fight. Brothers and sisters that love Jesus and love us enough to get our backs. Brothers and sisters that are willing to take a few shots for us.
Now let me ask you, do you have anyone in your life like that? Are you sure? This week do you have someone praying for you? Do you have someone that you could call right now if you needed help and you know that in Christ they would respond? And just as importantly, are you that someone in someone else’s life?
When is the last time someone reached out to you for spiritual help? Are you making yourself available to your faith family to stand with them against whatever may come? You see, too many Christians these days are trying to do their faith alone. And not only is this not biblical, it’s just dumb.
The enemy’s favorite target is the isolated Christian. The believer that has been hurt or wounded and finds themselves outside of the safety of the community. And I believe this is what Peter is talking about in 1 Peter 5:8.
You’ve seen on Animal Planet what a lion does to the animal that is outside the protection of the herd. So, if you are hurting or isolated or alone then you need to get into the herd. And if you are a part of the church, then you must always keep your eyes open for people on the outskirts.
Invite people into your disciple group. Ask people how you can be in prayer for them. Ask your church family how they’re really doing. And when someone is brave enough to answer honestly, then be willing to bear their burden. Be ready to link up your shields of faith in order to help them survive this season of attack.
So whether you find yourself in a season of peace or in a season of war, may you surround yourself with brothers and sisters that are willing to bear one another’s burdens as we seek to DEEPEN our relationship with Jesus as a faith family.