Ephesians 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
The words “above all” indicate that there is now a change in the armor that we are to put on. We are now coming to the fourth piece of armor wherewith we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. The first three pieces were fixed, but now in this different transition we are told “to take up the shield of faith.” The fixed pieces of armor we have on all the time, but in times of emergency, or battle we take up the shield of faith.
The Roman shield that Paul is thinking about would be about four feet tall and two and half feet wide and held in front to protect the entire body. Paul speaks about the flaming arrows or darts of the enemy. One can imagine a barrage of darts or arrows falling down upon us that would bring in confusion, chaos, injury and then allow the troops to come in and finish the job.
We need to keep in mind that these darts are being thrown by the enemy, a.k.a. the wicked one, or the devil. Paul told us that we do not fight “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (vs. 12) The world no longer believes that there is a devil and demonic powers and consequently when evil acts – they have no answers. It is not flesh and blood that we fight, but a real devil that commands and controls a variety of infernal powers, devilish agents and spiritual entities.
When we think of these fiery darts or arrows we must realize that they can take different forms. Probably the most common would be in our thought life. Thoughts that would bring in doubt, despair, discouragement, especially when it comes to God’s promises, God’s love, God’s faithfulness and God’s Word. We see how Satan came to Eve in the Garden of Eden and said: “Did God really say?”
Also, there can be blasphemous thoughts about God and the Lord Jesus Christ. When we get these thoughts, we can begin to doubt whether we are even a Christian. Or, we might find that the devil throws words or phrases, or oaths or some other form of horrible language at us.
Some of these darts can deal with our imagination where the enemy can conjure up scenes, or depict events and paint them very vividly and make them seem so real. This is why we “take up the shield of faith.”
Peter tell us in 1 Peter 4:12 that it is not “strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Because Satan will use these things to try and alarm us into thinking that God does not love us, or has forgotten us, or to bring in fear that would tend to immobilize us from moving in all that God has for us – we need to keep in mind what Peter said in 1 Peter 5:8, 9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
John tells us in 1 John 5:4: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”
Attacks of persecution can come from many different forms and in different ways. We see what some Christians went through in Hitler’s Germany and even today in places like the Middle East, India, China, but also persecution can come from those who are near to us.
The only way to really counteract all of this is through the shield of faith and we know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. He who believes shall obey, and God gives faith to the obedient heart.
We never work to produce faith. Faith will never point to itself. We do not have faith in faith, but faith will always point to God; to His character; to who He is. This is why we are told in Hebrews 12:2, “Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
So, in times of crises, or even in everyday life – the question is: What are we looking at, or towards? What is it that draws our attention? Is it Jesus, or some ‘thing’ else, or some ‘one’ else that we look towards.
Remember, we take up the shield of faith.