The Armor of God: The Shield of Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 25, 2014 5 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith with which you can extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one” Ephesians 6:16.

This piece of the Armor of God is one of my favorites: The Shield of Faith. There is very little that describes what faith is and what it does better than a shield. Every soldier in an army depends on his shield to survive in battle. Today, our soldiers don’t carry shield, but they rely on a variety of types of cover that shields them from a rain of bullets from enemy forces. But in Paul’s time, a Roman soldier’s shield did so much more.

One Roman defense tactic is called “turtling.” What they did is that they would gather their soldiers tight together so that their shields would overlap each other. One row of soldiers would stand side by side with their shields covering the front of the regiment. Then another row of soldiers would stand behind with their shields angled upward, also overlapping the tops of the shields of the soldiers in front of them. This formation made the soldiers impervious to countless arrows. And when they moved forward as a unit, the enemy had a hard time breaking them up until they were in point blank range. One way enemy armies would get around that tactic is by lighting their arrows on fire. Most shields were made with a wood base and coated with bronze. This made the shields lighter and firm so they would not get bent out of shape throughout a battle. But this also made them weak to fire. A fiery arrow would pierce the bronze coating, light the inner wood on fire, and by the time the soldiers engaged sword-to-sword, their shields would be useless. So to counter this, the Romans would wrap their shields in leather and soak the leather in water. Leather retains water for a very long time and during a battle, the water-soaked leather would extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy.

So that is the historical background to the shield. A shield is often more important to a soldier than a sword. A sword in a hand does no good if the soldier is dead because of no shield. A soldier depends on the shield for his protection. He hides behind a shield because even though he does not know that the shield will hold, he trusts that it will. If he did not trust in that shield to cover him, he would not use the shield to hide behind.

And this is the concept of faith. With every attack a soldier endures, he cannot know in the future that the shield will protect him. But he has the confidence in the shield, in part due to past experience, that it will hold against the attacks he receives. As Christians, we have faith that is not blind or without evidence. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as assurance of things hoped for, evidence of things unseen. I will say it again. Faith is not blind. I challenge you to look up how every other religion describes faith and you will find it described very similar to how the Bible describes it. Everyone exercises faith more than they realize. Just by reading this post, you exercised faith. You demonstrated a trust that the computer or phone you are reading this post on would pick the link up and upload this webpage in which you are reading this post. When you go to work or school every day, most people exercise faith that their car will start. You don’t actually know it will, but you have the assurance or confidence that it will. When you sit down on a chair, do you check it out to make sure all the screws are in or that it will hold you? Most don’t. They are exercising faith that the chair will hold them up. If the chair broke, then you have faith that is misplaced. But very few people understand faith in an object as a soldier has with his shield.

Those are very basic examples. But you also have faith in a person. You trust that what they say they will do, they will do. Even though you do not know they will, and that they could change their minds, you trust them to do what they say. Or you trust them to break their word in some cases. And here is a sad reality: many people, including Christians, will demonstrate more faith in Satan than in God. That’s quite a statement, but I find it to be true. Here is what I mean. We have more confidence, more assurance, that Satan will be successful in harming us, in harassing us, in defeating us, than we do in God to protect us, to deliver us, to rescue us, and to guide us to victory. We would rather look at the enemy, toss our shield to the side, and say “Just hit me and get this over with.” Why? One of the reasons is that we think our enemy is bigger than God. I know that sounds silly but how often do we seriously behave like that? I know I have. I’ve had times where I’ve felt that my problem is too big for God to deal with.

But we don’t have to stay that way. As Christians, we serve a God who specializes in the impossible. My life is living testimony of that. I should not have lived to see my first birthday, yet God showed up. I had no reading comprehension until I was 12 and yet now I am a regular blogger for Worldview Warriors and I am an author. (I will share the details of my first book being published when I conclude this series.) I was not expected to graduate from college, let alone attend. The list goes on. My life is living testimony that we serve a God who specializes in doing the impossible. The miracles of Jesus’ ministry? I’ve seen a number of them in action. And I’ve learned that no matter what the odds are, no matter how impossible the situation seems, no matter how big and powerful and numerous the enemy seems to be, when we face impossible odds, that is when we need to be bold and rise up with the war cry Chazak and Amats to prove to the world that our God is faithful. Because in our weaknesses, that is when God demonstrates his strength. Take up the Shield of Faith. Trust in the Lord. He knows what he is doing. And he will never fail.

Next week, I’ll be writing on the Helmet of Salvation.


Anonymous said...

If you put all your faith into a God, then I have no faith in you.

Do you believe in Ra the Sun God? Of course not how silly. Why not put your faith in Zeus or else be smited with a thunderbolt from the sky.

Well over a billion people put their faith in Ganesh, while another billion put their faith in God. No not that God. I'm talking about the one that will reward you with 26 virgins in heaven if you stay away from pork and worship him multiple times a day. (Seems a little self-absorbed if you ask me)

Shit happens in this world but not because of this God or that. Shit happens because of logic and reason. Not because of miracles and prayer.

Did you develop cancer when you were young and doctors didn't give you a chance yet here you are today living and breathing? You got to that point through science and technology. You got there because a doctor fought to keep you alive and didn't listen to any number of different gods telling him to stop meddling with life.

Put faith in yourself. Live your life how you want to live it, not how some random God wants you to live.

With your shield and all that other armor on, all your doing is protecting yourself from the outside world. Living life in a shell is no way to live.

Charlie said...

Don't put your faith in me. I'm human, I'm fallible. Jesus Christ does not lie, he does not fail. And he lives in my heart. That is how I know he is real and all those other "gods" are false.

Things do happen. It's a result of sin and man's rebellion against God. He does not force his will on us. If God were to force us to end starvation in Africa (which is due to bad management of resources primarily through those African leaders), he would also be obliged for force you to hold your tongue and to worship him. Because all sin is still sin. The slightest breaking of the law puts you under the standard just as much as being way under. When you need perfection, 99% is still short. Just like with passing a class. If the standard is 70%, a 69% is just as effective as a 20%.

Actually, my brain was swelling, the doctors, many specialists, had no answer whatsoever. They just said I was dying and they didn't know why. Later, another group of specialists said I would never be able to run and I'd barely be able to walk. I'm a competitive fencer today and have been for nearly 16 years. I can run as fast backwards as many can forwards. Science and technology was powerless. The doctors were powerless. The God I serve is not.

Put faith in myself, huh? I've seen where that goes. Not well. Put faith in Jesus Christ. I've seen where that goes. The best place I could ever be. This armor protects me from the deceit you are putting forth and helps me to see what it is coming from. Jesus Christ is real. He did rise from the dead. And you will see him face-to-face one day.

Anonymous said...

Did the doctors do anything, like alleviate the swelling so your body would have time to heal itself? Is it possible that you only remember the worst case scenarios? Doctors tend to speak in probabilities, not absolutes, because they know they can be wrong. The fact that you got better and prospered is not evidence of a miracle or god, since it happens to people with no belief as well. Science and technology have saved more lives than any god has.

Charlie said...

Anonymous, the doctor's made it clear they had absolutely no clue as to what was going on. They said I was dying, they didn't know why, and there was nothing they could about it. That night, my church was praying and God did what he loves do to. Show up where every solution that man has cannot work. And my doctor's also happened to be Christians. They knew with with their years of expertise that prayer was the ONLY possible solution.

I am not going to get into a debate with you about what God can or cannot do. You can choose to believe my testimony or you can choose to deny it because it is obvious the evidence is proving your worldview to be faulty. And part of your flawed worldview is your idea that you can put faith in a person to a scientific test, as though God is a process or a genie, not a person. God chooses to act as he sees fit, not how you would like him to act. Nor is he obliged to prove himself to you. He doesn't need your approval. He doesn't need mine. If you want to put your faith in yourself, in technology, in science, in medicine, so be it. But it will never satisfy. There will always be the next new thing. It will never lost. Only Jesus Christ will last through everything. If I lose EVERYTHING, my money, my home, my family, my job, my friends, my everything, I will still be satisfied because God's grace is sufficient.

Steve R said...

Let's take a look at authority. Would you say if the Bible made specific predictions about future events that were correct that it may have some sort of supernatural connection? Would you say it was accurate if every historicall fact that can be verified has shown the Bible is right? Would you say something real happened that made 12 cowards decide to die for their faith in Christ? Would you agree the Bible MUST be Devine since we have countless lives that have been RADICALLY changed by it?