Ephesians 6:16 – above all, taking the shield of faith with which, you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
The fourth piece of armor Paul discusses in Ephesians 6 is the shield of faith.
In ancient warfare, arrows on fire were launched in great numbers as a battle tactic, causing panic and confusion besides injury to the enemy. The only way to extinguish these fiery darts and protect the whole body was having a heavy shield likely as long as a door, which a Roman soldier wore strapped to the arm, holding it up to defend against attacks. The shield was also an offensive weapon to knock enemies to push back against the enemy. Also when soldiers clumped together (phalanx formation). they formed a powerful protective barrier.
Having addressed the parts of the armor (belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and ‘combat boots’ of the gospel) that we are to have as our foundation, Paul now moves to faith. The shield of faith is to be taken up to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. We have to deliberately choose faith in all circumstances. So what is faith?
Faith is more than just a feeling. To have faith is to have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). It is to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins that we might have eternal life. Faith can not only protect us from the blows of the devil, but it can also help us push back against him.
Faith in Christ will influence the way we live. Our faith can guard us during trials in the same way a shield would during battle. When Satan tempted Jesus, He used His knowledge of Scripture, evidence of God, to push back against Satan’s taunts (Matthew 4:1-11). When doubt and fear creep in and our beliefs are in question, we hold out our shield of faith and stand firm in what we believe. In times of anxiety and fear, our faith in God’s promises can protect us and comfort us. Without faith, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one.
The fellowship of believers on the journey of faith is invaluable. When we band with other Christians, in phalanx formation, taking up shields together, we are more protected and strengthened in our faith. In times of doubt and fear, fellow believers help walk each other through the darkest moments. When we fellowship with believers and help each other through our doubts and we form a stronger barrier against the devil.
Jesus said whatever we ask in prayer, we will receive if we have faith (Matthew 21:22), And those who have faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Faith helped heal the blind man (Matthew 9:29) and the Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13).
How is your faith today? Is your lack of faith leaving you vulnerable to the attacks of fear, doubt, and unbelief? Or are you holding up your shield of faith, together with other believers, to fight the fiery darts of the evil one?
Heavenly Father help me to take up and hold up my shield of faith and stand firm against the fiery darts of the evil one, I pray.