The Shield of Faith
William J. Brown
We depend so much on God's spacious grace. And the Shield of Faith, our next bit of armor, stands as a perfect example of that. But what is that all-important protection God has provided. Let's find out...
To understand the Shield of Faith we must first grasp what "faith" really is. What is Paul writing about here?
He's speaking of the everyday, nitty-gritty kind of faith. This isn't the faith that brings salvation. How do we know?
Remember...he's talking to those already saved. So Paul must be referring to the sustaining faith of the Christian...the everyday struggle to parallel our will to our Commander's. Trusting God no matter what it takes. It isn't an easy or cheap faith. This is something we must work at.
We find no better definition of faith than in Hebrews 11:1...
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
When we can't see what God has, but we still do what He asks, that's true faith. The evidence is found not in things we can see, touch or feel. The evidence is found in God's character. We know He will never lead us wrong. So we trust Him no matter what. That's true faith.
Abraham showed this kind of faith when God asked him to offer up his only son, Isaac. Abraham obeyed because he knew God could bring his son back to life. God had promised that Isaac would be Abraham's heir. If God allowed Isaac to stay dead, that would never have happened and God would have been a liar. But Abraham knew God is as good as His Word. He knew the character of God. And he trusted that.
That's faith friends!
So we know what faith is. How is it like a shield?
Ancient shields were sometimes made of hard wood, stiff leather or some other rigid substance. Most shields of Paul's day were made of metal for maximum protection.
The Roman shield was large and could encompass the entire soldier if he huddled behind it. That's probably what Paul had in mind when he said,"Above all." He was probably saying, "Fitting the shield over all the other armor..." Our trust in God and His character is what gives us maximum protection in battle. The belt, breastplate, shoes and helmet give us great protection. But nothing's better than to hide behind a big ol' stiff shield for safety.
What does this Shield of Faith protect us from?
Roman soldiers would sometimes encounter darts, arrows or spears that were tarred and set afire. The enemy would hurl these through the air, hitting the soldiers and setting them aflame. So the metal shield would hide the Roman soldier from such a fate. He would just watch the darts bounce off, hit the ground and extinguish themselves.
And that's what the Shield of Faith does...
It protects us from the "fiery darts" of Satan. Satan tries to lure us away with temptations that, at first, look tantalizing. But in the end, they set us burning with the fires of lust and hell. To keep us from such a fate, we must always trust God. He always does good...all the time. Satan's rewards may seem better in the heat of the moment. But God's gifts will always give us eternal rewards.
But we must trust God. We must believe Him in faith and follow His leading. The Shield of Faith only works if we huddle behind it. So lets grip that Shield of Faith...our trust in our Commander, Jesus Christ...and charge into battle.