Today’s post is the fifth in a series about putting on the full armor of god
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)
I didn’t grasp the fullness of this passage—from a warfare point of view—until I began studying movies set in the ancient world.
Watching The 300 and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy explains what Paul was talking about. The archers didn’t aim at anyone in particular. They lit their arrows, directed them up into the sky and let go. The arrows arched up and headed back down onto the enemy. Fighting from above as well as from the front.
To guard against those arrows from above, ancient soldiers gathered tightly together. They lined up their shields next to each other and over their heads, deflecting the rain of arrows from above.
Knowing the enemy often lit their arrows, soldiers would soak their wooden shields in water before battle. Wet shields meant flaming arrows would be more likely extinguished, doing less damage.
Just so, the Devil attacks us at every possibility, trying to pierce our faith using fire-tipped arrows for even more damage
Paul tells us that one way to protect ourselves is to take up a shield of faith. Psalms 28:7 says that
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
It is faith in the LORD that is our shield. Not faith in our battle plan. Not faith in our own strength. But faith in our Commander in Chief—the Lord himself. He is our shield.
So we arm ourselves against the attack from the evil one by taking up our faith as a shield, knowing that God is on our side. And if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Especially if we have soaked our shield in the living water—Jesus Christ.
Just as ancient soldiers worked together to shield each other from flaming arrows, so can Christians work together to battle evil. Just as you might slip under another soldier’s shield if yours is damaged, so too can you rely on another believer’s faith if yours feels temporarily weak.
When we are overcome by arrows from the evil one and feel we cannot even pray; we can ask those people whose faith is strong to lift us up in prayer and to keep praying until we are able to regain a firm grip on our shield and move forward in battle. Soaked in the living water of Christ, which is the Word of God.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your armor which can protect us from the flaming arrows of the Devil. Please help us pick up your shield of faith and soak it deeply in your Word each day before battle. Help us also live in community with other believers so that we are stronger together with you as our Commander in Chief. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you felt your faith was a shield against the Devil’s attacks? Are you doing individual combat or are you part of the army of God, helping shield others as well as letting their shields of faith protect you?