Shield of Faith
When I was a kid I always love to watch action movies. Any movies that involves war, I would try my best to watch it. But war is no joke. I’ve seen the sufferings of those who lost their loved ones because of the war. Those who survived but was physically handicapped is very tragic. Some may
have survived without any physical loss, suffered war shock and emotional torment that they can never forget for the rest of their lives. We are fighting a war but the Lord had given us everything we need not only to fight but to defend ourselves. This morning, we will study about the shield of faith specifically designed to protect us from the fiery darts of our enemy.
I. Our enemy:
A. Satan – he is our worst enemy. He opposes everything related to God, he tries to destroy God’s plan and opposes God’s people. (We have talked about him previously so I will not discuss further about him here.
B. Satan uses “fiery darts” or in simple terms “flaming arrows” to attack us. These flaming arrows were designed to create fear, confusion, discouragements, all sort of troubles in the heart of the Christian soldier, worst of all for a soldier to disobey and fall into sin. In real life they are:
1. The flesh – the sinful nature of man, the rebellious self, dominated by sin and in opposition to God (Rom. 7:15-15; 8:2-8, Gal. 5:19-21). This is manifested in three forms namely:
a. Lust of the flesh – lust is a strong desire for evil things e.g. sensual things.
b. Lust of the eyes – Satan uses the eye as a very effective tool to incite wrong desires (Josh. 7:20, 21, 2 Sam. 11:2, Mat. 5:27-29), e.g. materialism.
c. The pride of life – has the idea of arrogance over one’s circumstances in life.
2. Persecution is a very effective weapon that Satan can use against us. Some
missionaries are given a choice by their persecutor to renounce their faith or die.
3. Discouragement, despair, loss of love one’s, health problems, difficult and dangerous times, or any combination of what I have mentioned.
4. The last but not the least is for me, worldliness which is fully illustrated below:
The Bible defines worldliness by centering morality where we intuitively know it should be. Worldliness is the lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done).
Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of idolatry; large salaries and comfortable life-styles become necessities of life. Worldliness is reading magazines about people who live hedonistic lives and spend too much money on themselves
and wanting to be like them. But more importantly, worldliness is simply pride and selfishness in disguises. It’s being resentful when someone snubs us or patronizes us or shows off. It means smarting under every slight, challenging every word spoken against us, cringing when another is
preferred before us. Worldliness is harbouring grudges, nursing grievance, and wallowing in self-pity. These are the ways in which we are most like the world.
II. Our protection: The Shield of faith.
A. The shield – This term is related to the Greek word for “door.” It refers to the large 4′ x 2′ full-body shield. It was made of wood with leather coverings surrounded by metal. It was soaked in water before battle so as to extinguish the fire-tipped arrows. It was a symbol of full protection. The Romans uses this, rectangular, kneestouching shield which protected them from arrows and spears and could be knelt behind during an arrow barrage. It was quite a bit heavier and clumsier that the smaller Greek circular shield, but it was designed to give the soldier flexibility and strength. Groups of soldiers who were besieging a town could form close together and hold their shields over their heads to make a huge testudo, or “turtle”, to protect the group from salvo of arrows.
B. Biblically speaking, what is the shield of faith?
1. It is not the whole body of Christian doctrine as used by Paul in Eph. 4:5,13.
2. It is the basic belief or trust in God. It is the believer’s active and continuous trust in God, His Word and His promises. This trust is “above all” absolutely necessary to protect the believer from all sorts of flaming arrows from the devil.
3. The value of faith lies not in the person exercising it, but in the object. The Catholics faith in Mary will never shield them eternal destruction because she has no power to save. The same is true with the Muslims, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindus, and all other religions. We all have faith but there is only one right kind of faith, that is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. In the face of all the continuous, never ending, and increasing difficulties that the devil shots at us, we must take refuge behind the shield of faith. We make a choice to listen to Satan’s lies and promises of pleasures and good times against our obedience and faithfulness to Christ and His promises. Roman soldiers stand side by side, shield to shield forming a wall of protection against the enemies’ flaming arrows. As long as they were behind the shield, they were protected. If they move out from behind the shield, it may cause them their life or get injured. So, the general rule is stay behind the shield of faith. Trust God and His
promises despite of how difficult the situation or the circumstances.
5. The Bible tells us that God Himself is our shield. Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. David also in 2 Sam. 22:3 tell us “The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. Other verses that God is our shield are: Deut. 33:29, Ps. 3:3, Ps. 28:7, Ps. 33:20; 59:11; 84:9,11, Prov. 30:5). From these verses we can see that:
a. God is the shield of our souls
b. He is the shield of our physical bodies as well as our properties, He protects everything we have. Only Christ can give real and never-ending safety and security.
c. God is the perfect shield, He is our omnipotent shield and the only shield we need.
6. Knowing these things is not enough. There is a difference between intellectually knowing and taking refuge on Him at all times, good times or bad times. You must hold on the Jesus Christ no matter what.
Illustration: Some Through the Fire
Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.
Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race
Illustration: To Live Joyfully
To live by faith is to live joyfully, to live with assurance, untroubled by doubts and with complete confidence in all we have to do and suffer at each moment by the will of God. We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away
by the raging torrent of so much distress, so many troubles, so much embarrassment and weakness,
so many setbacks. For it is essential to have faith to find God behind all this.Jean-Pierre de Caussade, 1675-1751, in Discipleship Journal, issue 40
The Lord did not leave us defenceless. He gave us the shield of faith as our best defence
against the onslaught of the devil. Many people know about Christ but they never seek refuge unto Him. They have knowledge of him but they never receive Him as their only saviour. Is your faith in Jesus Christ your shield of faith?