As we fight the spiritual battle, we need spiritual weaponry. We need the utility belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and proper footwear.
Now let’s consider our shield. The apostle Paul writes, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).
The words “above all” mean that faith is of paramount importance. The other armor won’t function apart from faith.
The shield that the Roman soldier would use was made of wood and then covered with cloth and leather. They were large, rectangular objects about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide (basically the size of a door). By crouching behind it, the soldier could completely hide himself.
The term “Fiery Darts” that Paul uses refers to one of the most commonly-used enemy tactics of his day.
Prior to an actual face-to-face engagement with the enemy, a warrior would often encounter a barrage of flaming arrows coming from all directions. Their sole purpose was to demoralize and confuse him.
Our modern equivalent might be guided missiles or rockets.
The Roman soldier had to hold up his shield to protect himself from those fiery arrows. Sometimes, he would dip his shield in water so the fire-tipped arrows would be extinguished when they struck the shield.
Watch your thoughts
Satan has his “flaming arrows,” or “guided missiles,” that he shoots our way too. They are swift and silent and we receive no advance warning of their arrival. You can wake up in the morning, and the enemy will hit you with a flaming arrow before your feet even hit the floor.
It might be an impure thought or a thought of complete despair. You may be gripped with intense fear and terror: “What if this happens, or if that happens?”
It might be a thought of hatred toward someone. It might even be a blasphemous thought or a thought of doubt.
When do these “flaming arrows” come?
Answer: at strategic times, like when you decide to read the Bible.
Isn’t it amazing that you can open the newspaper and maintain your full ability to concentrate with no distractions? You can get through the whole thing, the want ads, the comics, and all the advertisements with no disruption whatsoever.
Or you may watch some mindless TV program and you’ll get through it with no phone calls, no distractions, no problems.
Now try opening the Bible and watch as “all hell breaks loose” and those flaming arrows start flying!
It might be an inability to concentrate. It might be a hundred and one things you should be doing that come to mind. They aren’t necessarily evil thoughts per se, just things like: “Oh boy! I forgot to go do this” or “I’ve got to pick up the cleaning, return that phone call, etc.”
The devil hates the Bible
Listen, the enemy’s primary objective is to keep you from the Word of God.
Sometimes people will ask me to sign their Bibles. When I do, I will often write, “Sin will keep you from this Book, or this Book will keep you from sin.” The enemy will try to keep you from reading your Bible.
These “guided missiles” will also come during times of trial and hardship. Satan will whisper in your ear, “God has abandoned you. He’s left you. He doesn’t love you!”
I’ve been hit with a few arrows like you
I know about this personally and so do many of you. It is then that I hold up the shield of faith.
Here, faith means the ability to quickly apply what we believe so as to repel everything the devil does or attempts to do to us.
My relationship with God is not built on fleeting emotions or feelings, but on faith in what He has said to me in His Word. Faith, or the “shield of faith,” is turning to God and His Word in time of attack, and not focusing on our fluctuating feelings or emotions.
Scripture does not say, “Resist Satan, steadfast in your emotions, feelings, etc.,” but rather, “Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9).
So use your shield today! It could make all the difference.