Close your eyes and picture a Roman soldier from Biblical times. This is what would have come to mind when the Ephesians heard Paul instruct them to put on the full armor of God. We're halfway through a series on the armor of God based on one of my favorite books, Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner. If you'd like to learn about the other pieces of armor, you can find links at the end of this post.
|Photo courtesy of PedalFreak and Flickr|
If you ever used a trash can lid as a shield when you were a child, then you probably have the wrong picture in mind when it comes to an ancient Roman battle shield. The shields the Ephesians would have pictured were more like a door than a trash can lid, wide and tall enough to cover the soldier's entire body.
These shields were constructed from six layers of animal hides, specially tanned and woven together. This made them extremely tough and durable, yet they could become stiff and brittle if not cared for properly. A good soldier would rub his shield with oil every morning to keep it soft and pliable because he knew his life depended on how well he tended to his it.
Just as the battle shield completely covered the soldier, so God gives us enough faith to cover us in every situation. Believers who hold the shield of faith in front of them have an impenetrable wall of defense against the enemy's tactics and are divinely energized to stand against attack.
But we, too, must tend to our shield if we want to keep it ready for times of battle. Without a fresh touch of God's Spirit, our faith becomes hard, stiff and brittle. Faith that is ignored tends to fall to pieces when in the midst of confrontation. Faith requires a frequent anointing of the Holy Spirit, which comes through time spent with God in His Word and prayer.
"...with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." ~ Ephesians 6:16
The Roman soldier knew heading into battle that the arrows he would be assaulted with were by no means ordinary. While the long, slender arrows looked harmless, in reality their hollow shaft was filled with a liquid that, upon impact, burst into a raging fire. Knowing that a dry shield would catch on fire, before battle the soldier would soak his shield in water until it was completely saturated, giving it the ability to extinguish the flames.
Satan wants to deceive us into believing that his attacks are harmless and can do little damage, but when they strike into the heart of human emotions they often explode and set our passions aflame. So, what kind of flaming arrows has satan been firing at you lately?
- The flaming arrow of hurt feelings
- The flaming arrow of a lack of contentment
- The flaming arrow of self-centeredness
- The flaming arrow of a lack of discipline
- The flaming arrow of a negative attitude
- The flaming arrow of doubt
- The flaming arrow of fear
The list goes on and on!
Did you know the strength of your faith is directly related to the priority you give God's Word in your life. The good news is that when we submit ourselves to God's Word, we're soaking our faith. Even if one of satan's arrows hits our shield, the huge amount of God's Word in us will extinguish the flames.
The flaming arrow of hurt feelings
- "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
The flaming arrow of a lack of contentment
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11
The flaming arrow of self-centeredness
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
The flaming arrow of a lack of discipline
"He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored." Proverbs 13:18
The flaming arrow of a negative attitude
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4
The flaming arrow of doubt
"Nothing is too hard for God” Jeremiah 32:17b
The flaming arrow of fear
- "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
When you see a flaming arrow heading your way, hold up your shield of faith!
Father, I thank you for this impenetrable shield You have given me to fend off attacks from the enemy. Empower me to hide Your Word in my heart, so that my shield will always be at the ready!
Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness
Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith (YOU ARE HERE!)
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit
Linking up with: "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday", "The Beauty in His Grip", "Soli Deo Gloria"