In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.Ephesians 6:16
You are under attack.
We might not feel as though this is the case, but in reality we face a spiritual onslaught in which the Evil One daily employs any tactic in his arsenal to undermine our identity and our unity in Jesus Christ. His fiery arrows are constantly being loosed against the people of God. What is a Christian to do in the face of such assaults?
When warfare reaches us—and it will—we must reach for our shields. We are to “take up the shield of faith.” The shield Paul’s readers would have imagined when they heard these words was no small shield, for in Roman times a soldier’s shield was four feet long by two and a half feet wide. Wielding one would have been like walking around with a door. It was not a Frisbee-like toy but a formidable piece of armor.
The key to understanding the proper use of our shields is that when we come to trust in Christ, He grants to us gospel armor. Having died in our place, He clothes us with His righteousness. So when we take up the shield of faith, we are actively trusting the gospel to shield us from Satan’s lies. The only way we can deal with the hostilities of ongoing spiritual warfare is to find our strength—our spiritual weapons and armor—in the Lord Jesus.
John Newton, in a seldom-sung hymn, pictures an encounter with the devil like this:
When Satan appears to stop up our path
And fills us with fears, we triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, though oft he has tried,
The heart-cheering promise, “The Lord will provide.”
Christ has already triumphed and, by faith, He invites us to share in His spoils. This victory is what led one of the Westminster Divines, William Gouge, to pen in his diary, “When I look upon myself, I see nothing but emptiness and weakness; but when I look upon Christ, I see nothing but fullness and sufficiency.” The Evil One is a defeated foe, though still a powerful one. When we seek to fight him in our own strength, we will find ourselves defeated. But God has provided all the armor we need. Our faith is our shield, for our faith tells us that we are forgiven children of the living God, empowered by His Spirit to obey Him and enjoying the certain hope of eternal life with Him.
You will come under attack today. Where in your life might the battle rage? Be sure to look to your faith in those moments, for it will shield you against temptation, and you will stand in victory against the devil’s darts.