Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16)

The shield of a Roman soldier was a big, almost door-sized piece of wood. It was doubled in thickness and coated with a tough leather soaked in oils so that it would not be flammable. A shield protected the whole soldier from flaming arrows that would come from the enemy lines. The battle strategy of the Romans was to get thousands of soldiers with shields to create an advancing wall by lining their shields side by side. The archers would stand behind, sending flaming arrows over the wall into the enemies grounds. This wall of shields would effectively stop all the flaming arrows sent directly from the enemy. 

In our spiritual battle, the devil sends flaming arrows at us daily. These arrows are the many temptations that excite our sinful desires for lust, pride, bitterness, envy and the like. These temptations lure us to reject God and follow our own heart again. They are deadly because if we concede, they will successfully cause us to sin and stumble, leaving our good God for a while. 

Paul exhorts us to take up the shield of faith. This is not saving faith because God has already given that to us. It is about the exercising of our faith in day to day life. Colossians 2:6-7 puts it this way, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

To take up the shield of faith is to continually put our trust in the truth of the Bible, again and again, every day. It is to put our trust in the promises of God and the assurance of it instead of our desires. 

For example, the devil might be flaming arrows of doubt in our faith. We might fall into the joys of the world and doubt there is any joy in God. We might concede to lust and worldly pleasures and doubt God would ever forgive us. We might believe the lies we are told to work for acceptance and salvation and doubt the free grace of God. We might be burnt out and doubt if living for God was in vain. 

The only defence we have against these flaming arrows is to hold up the shield of faith and put our trust in the truth of God’s Word. Psalm 16:11 says, “in [God’s] presence there is fullness of joy”. Isaiah 55:7 says to those who have fallen, “let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”. Ephesians 2:8 assures us that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”. Finally, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain”.

Holding the Word of God in faith is our shield. How we must learn the Word and meditate on the Word so we can hold it up as a shield of faith in our daily lives. The Word must become ours personally so that it may be our shield in times of assault. How well do you know your Bible? Not only head knowledge but how much of it have you stored in your heart? Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”. 

Let’s store up the Word of God in our hearts so that we can exercise the shield of faith when flaming arrows come at us. We must store it up personally in our daily devotion and meditation, and we must store it up communally as well. Holding up our shields of faith side by side like the Roman soldiers in war is far more effective than fighting alone. The church is a vital community for the Christian soldier to stand firm against the darts of the evil one. Make Bible reading and church community a priority in your life. 

Lord, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the faith You have given us. Please grow our faith so that we may stand against the devil’s schemes. Thank You that the final victory is Yours and that You have already won the battle so that we can trust in You and Your promises to us in the Bible. Thank You for Christ, who has defeated death and Satan so that we can be victorious in faith in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.