Have you ever been in a snowball fight as a kid or threw little rocks and sticks at each other? It helped to have a trashcan lid to shield and deflect the snowballs or sticks. Maybe you looked for something to hide behind for some relief for a short while until someone found you. In this post you will learn why you need the shield of faith and when and how to use it.
The problem with spiritual warfare is that we don’t see what is coming in our direction or when it will come. It is safe to assume we will continually fight a spiritual war for our souls. Consequently, we need to stand firm in our faith. Without faith, we are vulnerable to every empty philosophy, temptation, and deception thrown at us. A warrior’s shield is the first layer of protection.
In my last post, I explained that we should expect spiritual war because “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1John 5:19b). The Bible says we need the shield of faith to protect us from the fiery arrows the unseen enemy shoots at us. Ephesians 6:16 states, “In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Because you can’t physically see the invisible flaming darts, you need to keep the shield of faith up. Faith protects you from the following:
- darts of doubts designed to destroy your convictions and knowledge of the truth;
- arrows of temptation designed to weaken your resolve to die to sin and to be holy as God is holy;
- missiles of accusation designed to make you feel insecure, rejected, and worthless;
- flaming arrows of condemnation for things you have done in the past that would keep you in bondage to shame and guilt. Guilt keeps you in despair and makes you ineffective; and
- thoughts of failure and rejection.
What is faith?
When I think about faith, I think of a warm, secure, peaceful place for my mind to dwell. In that safe place, I have no worries, fears, anger, and so on. I have peace when I trust God has a purpose and is in control. I trust that He will work everything out for my good because I love Him (Romans 8:28). The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I could not see how God would work out all the problems I was facing when I became a single mother. But I decided to put my hope in Him and stay tight with Him through prayer and praise. The other choice was to become depressed and angry about how unfair life was. When I put my trust in God and claimed His promises during my divorce, I saw God do many miracles, which strengthened my faith. You can read my story WHAT IS INNER LIFE TRANSFORMATION? My Story.
Hebrews 11:6 explains, “And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Though you do not physically see spirits, you can observe the evidence. For example, you can see the destructive force of evil in a person’s life who has yielded to the influence of evil spirits. Peace and life are evidence that a person has yielded their mind and heart to God (Rom. 8:6).
Faith became a shield for me as long as my mind was on the things above where my savior, Jesus Christ, is. Colossians 3:1-2 states, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” When I think about the things on the earth, I become anxious, especially when I watched the news. I feel peaceful and secure when I turn my thoughts toward God and recount His goodness and sovereignty over the affairs of our country and my life.
When I am anxious, I often will recite Psalm 91, then I immediately relax and feel peace, especially at night when my mind can’t stop thinking about life’s worries. You can read the series of posts I wrote on Psalm 91 in Psalm 91 Posts. 2Samuel 22:31, Psalms 18:30, and Proverbs 30:5 states, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” We take refuge in God through praying, praising, and pondering scripture.
Faith believes that God will do what He promised He to do. Luke 1:37 states, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Faith is the childlike trust that what God has promised, He will do. You put your spiritual shield of faith into action by claiming God’s faithfulness to keep His promises. See my post about the 15 promises we can trust God to keep. However, the shield of faith is useless if you do not meditate on or memorize God’s Word. As you memorize Scripture and claim God’s promises, you are strengthening your shield of faith so the fiery arrows from the devil cannot penetrate your mind.
Why do we need the shield of faith?
Too often, people unwittingly put their faith in lies from the devil, such as, “I will never succeed” or “I am not worthy to be loved,” which produces sorrow and many times destructive thoughts. Your faith in Jesus and applying the living water of truth extinguishes the devil’s darts of lies and accusations. The allegations and enticements seem so real that most people believe them and try to build their lives upon them. Satan’s lies are empty and destructive.
People grieving a loss are the most susceptible to spiritual attack? It could be a loss of health, a job, a loved one, and so on. When we are in a community of believers, they can cover you with their shield of faith through prayer and encourage you to keep your hope in God’s promises. Also, Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” The faith of other believers encourages our faith when we are in a battle because their faith helps us stand firm in our faith. For example, when soldiers stand close together and lock their shields together, it forms a barrier against an attack. Do not forsake going to church. Satan will throw all kinds of offenses at you so you quit going to church, which will weaken your faith to fight the spiritual battle he wages to take your soul.
In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter denied knowing Jesus three times because he was alone and his faith was weak. God’s Word says that Satan comes before God to accuse us. Read Job 1:6-12 to learn how Satan asked permission to test Job’s resolve to fear God and not sin. We will learn more about the power of prayer in the next post.
Trials and temptations will cause you to either have faith in God or doubt His promises and mentally dwell in the pit of despair. When trials test our faith, and we resist the temptation to worry or despair, we will become stronger. James 1:2–4 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials [temptations] of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness[endurance, patience]. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Three different words describe what testing of our faith produces: steadfastness, endurance, and patience. All are necessary to be victorious in the unseen spiritual battles. For an example read about Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2Corinthians 12.
- Steadfastness means firm, fixed, settled, or established, or constant and not changing.
- Endurance is the ability to last, continue, or remain, or the ability to stand pain, distress, fatigue, etc.
- Patience is to bear or endure provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
Where do we get faith?
First, you need to get the shield of faith from Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 states, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” And we get faith from reading the Bible. Romans 10:17 states, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” So, when you study God’s Word and pray daily, your shield of faith is up, and the devil’s arrows bounce off. But when you miss time reading God’s Word and praying, your protection is down, making you vulnerable to Satan’s temptations and lies. You will lose spiritual strength and health when you don’t read your Bible and pray daily.
Daily pray: I take up my shield of faith to block the fiery arrows of condemnation, accusation, temptations, doubts, and flattery of the enemy. I believe that God loves me, cares about me, and is the shield that protects me from evil. I will strengthen my faith by meditating on Scripture day and night. (Eph. 6:16; Rev. 12:9; 1John 3:1; 1Peter 5:7; 2Thes. 3:3; Rom. 10:17)