The Shield of Faith
Every believer has a shield of faith; it’s part of our spiritual armor. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to use their shield to block the enemy’s attacks.
16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16 Christian Standard Bible)
Our faith, when used properly, is a tool that can defeat any recognized attack by the Devil. Jesus countered the Devil’s lies with God’s truth again and again. We too can use the same shield of faith to defeat him.
So how do we use our shield of faith? What kind of “flaming arrows” from the enemy does it quench? How can we keep our defenses in good condition? Like all of Paul’s metaphors, his spiritual teaching about the shield of faith is strongly practical. This spiritual shield has the power to block Satan’s vicious attacks so completely that we won’t even feel pain.
Later I’ll give you some useful tips on how to use your shield to extinguish the Devil’s flaming arrows.
But first, I want to share about a fish’s unusual immunity to its roommate’s poison.
A Safe and Dangerous Underwater Home
It’s one of the strangest living arrangements in the sea. All 27 species of Clownfish dwell among the deadly, stinging tentacles of sea anemones. In fact, the sea anemones protect these fish from harm.
This is very strange, because sea anemones are carnivores who eat small fish!
Their diet also includes shrimp, tiny crustaceans, marine larvae and detached mussels. Yet anemones don’t harm the one type of fish who lives the closest.
The brightly-colored Clownfish spends all of it’s juvenile and adult life happily swimming among the killer tentacles, apparently immune to the anemone’s poison. The fish keeps the anemone clean and may trick other fish into swimming closer. Recent research also discovered that the Clownfish’s nighttime activity increases the oxygen available to it’s host,
Sea anemones are related to jellyfish. Most species attach themselves to a rock and remain anchored for life. They “hunt” using a specialized cell in the tip of each tentacle called a nematocyst. When something touches the tentacle, the nematocyst fires a tiny “harpoon” which injects a neurotoxin, paralyzing the prey. Tentacles then draw the victim into the sea anemone’s mouth.
Scientists aren’t sure why the Clownfish is immune. There are two theories, both of which might be right. First, a Clownfish’s mucous layer is about four times as thick as any other fish’s and forms a protective barrier. Researchers know that if the mucous layer is removed, Clownfish do get stung by their hosts. The second theory has to do with the fish swimming constantly among the tentacles. Scientists believe that some mucous from the sea anemone is picked up by the Clownfish. Perhaps it tricks the anemone into seeing the Clownfish as part of itself, so the sea anemone doesn’t attack.
However it works, the Clownfish is protected from the sea anemone’s deadly poison.
As Christians, we too can be protected from Satan’s foulest blows. We just need to handle our shield well.
Our Shield of Faith: Practical Protection for the Christian
The shield of faith is a Christian’s best defense. Used correctly, it can protect you from Satan’s most soul-damaging lies. How do you combat a lie? With the truth. A lie starts to lose its power when Christians proclaim the truth of God’s Holy Scriptures in the area where they are most vulnerable.
Whatever strengthens your faith strengthens your shield.
So how do we strengthen our faith? Here are four ways:
- Define your areas of weakness. Each of us has some lies we are tempted to believe.
- Use the Bible. Find and meditate on the verses of scriptural truth which come against the lie or “flaming arrow” which the Devil frequently hurls at you.
- Memorize the most powerful scriptures. If these verses are memorized, you won’t have to waste time trying to look them up in the midst of an attack.
- Start coming against Satan’s lies with God’s Word and His truth. There is nothing more powerful then scriptural truth to send the enemy fleeing.
As we continue doing these four steps, our head knowledge of God’s divine truth becomes “heart-knowledge.” Once we believe in our heart that something is true, Satan’s “flaming arrow” is totally blocked by our shield of faith.
A lie that is no longer believed has no power to wound us, because our mind has been renewed in that area.
My Own Testimony
When I became a born-again Christian in college, I honestly felt that I was part of the “Michigan quota” that year of people who were supposed to get saved.
But He didn’t like me very much.
What I saw as “reality,” other loving believers saw as deep emotional wounds. A female Christian on my dorm floor started giving me “emergency first aid.”
Over and over again, my first year as a Christian, Barbara would tell me,
“Maureen, God made you and God doesn’t make junk.”
She said these words so often, that when I started feeling down about myself over the summer, I’d mutter, “God made me and God doesn’t make junk.” That truth had started to stick.
My healing had begun.
Later, over the following summer, my Christian team leader Jan saw the same emotional damage. So she started directing my daily quiet time to verses and passages revealing God’s love for me personally. Gradually, as I kept meditating on this spiritual truth, I started to ‘raise my shield.’ When the Devil came against me, telling me I was worthless, I began resisting his lies by speaking back the spiritual reality that the Holy Spirit had revealed to me. Most of the time it was a silent mental argument, but I’d started to “talk back” to the Devil.
Isaiah 43:4 became particularly powerful in my life.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life. (Isaiah 43:4 RSV)
I am “precious in His eyes” because God chose to count me as precious. In fact, I was worth dying for.
Now it was Satan who had no defense. His flaming arrows could no longer penetrate my shield; my unshakable faith that God does love me—and He likes me too.
In fact, I’m pretty special in His eyes and I know it, deep inside my heart.
My Final Challenge
What’s the next lie you need to overcome?
Pick up your shield; it’s time to defend yourself.
All the images were downloaded from Pixabay.com
Note: My parents always loved and encouraged me. I think most of my poor self-esteem issues came from interactions with my classmates and peers.
“I Talk Back to the Devil” is a book by A.W. Tozer. He died before I came to Christ, but the Holy Spirit used his writing powerfully in my life. Here is The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book 1.