Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Needed a Shield

(Submitted By Kerry Patton)
“…in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16

It was the summer of 1984 and I was driving my Chevrolet Monte Carlo down Hwy 6 toward College Station, Texas.  It was a beautiful night.  I had my windows down and my music turned up.  My left arm was resting on the sill of the open window and I drove with the right.  I remember feeling absolutely free.  The wind was in my hair and the open road was in front of me.

Suddenly, an oncoming car picked up a rather large stone (by which I mean, it was considerably larger than a pebble) and hurled it into my open window past me in the opposite direction, missing my head by mere inches.  The stone’s momentum, combined with that of my own car caused the rock to crash off the rear window of my car and be hurled past my head on the other side where it bounced off the inside of the windshield and finally came to rest in the back seat! 

Now, I’m not suggesting that this stone would have taken out Goliath.  However, I am convinced that had it hit me, I might have lost control of the car and been severely injured or even killed.  Thankful that I was uninjured, I quickly rolled up the windows and made a firm decision that driving unprotected with my windows down was not in my best interests!

I needed a shield to protect me…even from things that I might not see coming.

A Shield…of Faith?
In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul was using the battle dress of a Roman soldier to communicate spiritual readiness for the spiritual battles that we face in life.  Upon this canvass, he paints an image familiar to his contemporaries: The buckler or shield.  This vital piece of armor was carried to deflect and defend against deadly blows of the enemy.  For his illustration Paul chooses a peculiar substance for his shield however: Faith.  A shield…of faith?

One would likely never enter an earthly battlefield simply covered in faith.  But we remember that the enemies Paul is warning of are not flesh and bone, but spiritual.  Their attacks are not sharpened steel, but of temptation, distractions, doubts, and conflicts of the mind and spirit.  Against these, no earthly buckler can defend!  Faith is our defense! 

But what is faith, and where do we get it?

Romans 10:17 reads: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 
I once heard it explained this way: We have faith…seeing in the scriptures what God said He would do, and witnessing in the same that God did what He said he was going to do.  Further, we continue in faith…seeing in the scriptures that God has said He will do things He has not yet done. By faith, we believe confidently that He will do what he has said he will do…because of what He has already done.
We have faith in God.  It is upon this faith that all those believers who have gone on before us stand firm.  They have witnessed and testify of the faithfulness, love, and saving power of God.  It is they to whom Paul refers as that “great cloud of witnesses” who compel us to lay off every encumbrance and run the race set before us! 

Their testimony allows us to take up the shield of faith ourselves and know that the same spirit that raised Christ Jesus dwells in us also.  As the spirit of God in Christ enabled Christ to withstand and resist the attacks of the forces of darkness, that same spirit enables us to do the same.  We have a shield of faith!!

Scripture to claim: 
“for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move ; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Matthew 17:20b

Devotional Archive