Prepare for Battle! Day 6 ~ Shield of Faith
Weekly Manna for Memory
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Additional verses if you’d like a memorization challenge 🙂 …
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
The Shield of Faith
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Big question…what is faith?
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith this way:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Faith is believing God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do.
Have any of you ever feared for the future of your children?
Last week I had a couple of sleepless nights thinking of all the atrocities that could happen during the tribulation or World War III or whatever might happen during my children’s lifetimes. It’s scary! The world is an unpredictable, scary place. And it’s scarier to consider my pre-school boys living without our parental protection during any of that.
Only, my concern wasn’t really the physical difficulties my boys may face, but rather the spiritual consequences it could have.
What if physical circumstances cause my boys to turn away from God? What if they become hardened toward God due to bad stuff happening to them and they never return? Would God make sure that they got a really fair chance to turn back to Him? Would He pursue them or even save them simply because their circumstances were beyond their control? Or would He leave them to the mercies of whatever powers that may be and allow them to be condemned to hell because their faith in God was crushed through their situation?
As I lay awake, I knew I should believe that God will take care of them. But I didn’t really.
I struggled with the fact that tough stuff happens to Christians, that people who love God with all their hearts go through some of the most difficult circumstances here on earth.
Wow! What a challenge of faith!
So where did God lead me through all of this? To a passage and a song and, ultimately, to Himself…
Luke 4 tells of the first few months of Jesus’ adult ministry on this earth. Luke recounts how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness of 40 days, how Jesus wasn’t accepted in his hometown of Nazareth, and how He drove out evil spirits and healed the sick in all of Judea.
Why was this passage significant to me this week?
First of all, it proved that God knows my every fear and loves me enough to comfort me.
Secondly, it shows me who Jesus, who God, is…
He doesn’t give in to Satan, nor is He overcome by Satan.
This is important to me as I consider the evil in this world that seems it will overwhelm us all. The Bible never promises an easy road for those who follow Christ. In fact, we are promised suffering and tribulation, but we can also know that nothing surprises or overwhelms the God of the universe who is looking out for us.
Jesus has power and influence. He was definitely no ordinary man.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and the news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Sometimes I get too used to the stories told in the Bible and forget how amazing it would have been to live in those times. When Jesus walked the earth, He AMAZED the people who met Him. Isn’t that cool? I love that we follow an extraordinary God! And if I just actually knew Him more, I’d likely never fear. There’s no fear if you’re walking stride for stride with someone of POWER!
And He is good and compassionate.
When Jesus was in a synagogue in Nazareth, He read out Isiah 61:1, 2–the passage about being anointed to bring the good news for the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, release for the oppressed–and then He said, “‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing'” (Luke 4:21). HE is the source! HE is the method! If anyone is bringing good news, freedom, sight, release, it’s Jesus!
And then He proves it, going down to Capernaum, teaching with authority that amazed people, casting out demons, and healing the sick.
Jesus IS the real deal! He has power. He uses it. And He uses it in favour of the oppressed. That is what comforted me in this passage. He takes care of His children.
And the song that was brought to my mind? “Good, Good Father” by Christ Tomlin. God is a good, good Father…it’s who He is. And I am (my boys are) loved by Him…it’s who I am (it’s who my boys are). Period.
I have nothing to fear.
And that’s where faith comes in. Faith is a choice to believe that which is unseen, to take God at His Word.
And as I have faith, it extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one. Faith stops the fear. Faith stops the feelings of doubt, of overwhelm. Even faith as small as a mustard seed is effective (Matthew 17:20).
What flaming arrows has the evil one sent your way lately? Maybe it’s not fear. Maybe it’s something else that he’s slinging your way. Is it hurtful words? Self-condemnation? Accusations? A feeling of defeat in circumstances? Bitterness in relationships? Frustration in parenting? Anger with your spouse?
How can you take up the shield of faith to extinguish them? ALL of them. What part of God or His Word do you need to believe by faith today so that you shield yourself from those lies and attacks? What promises of God could you pass on to your children to help them put up their own shield of faith?
Dear Jesus, thank You for who You are. Thank You for being God, for walking this earth in POWER and COMPASSION and LOVE. By the life you led on this earth, we see the heart of who God is. He is a good, good Father and I thank You that I can trust You to take care of me and my family. Lord, I have no idea what the next years and decades hold for my precious young boys. I don’t know if we parents will be around to help them navigate the waters of uncertainty and evil that are certain to increase as time marches on. But I trust that You have everything under control. You love my boys and You will fulfill Isaiah 62 in Your actions toward them. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your wisdom. Please help my unbelief as I continue to hear and watch what is happening in this world. In John 16:33 You state that we will have trouble in this world, but You have overcome the world. Thank You, Jesus, for overcoming. Thank You for the peace that knowing You can bring in this chaos. Thank You for taking care of my boys and loving them more than I ever could. Thank You for shielding us from the flaming arrows of the evil one. Amen.
Meal of Manna
Grab your journal and write down some fears, anxieties, doubts, hateful thoughts, bitterness, heaviness, etc. that you have today. Be open with God…He already knows what is in your heart.
What are the attributes or promises of God that counteract each of the flaming arrows you listed above? Consider characteristics of God or verses of comfort you have read/heard. (If you have some time, here is a pretty comprehensive booklet of God’s promises. You can check the Table of Contents to find verses particular to your situation.)
Praise God for who He is…
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.
Spend some time meditating on God’s answers to each of Satan’s flaming arrows. Determine to take by faith what God says in His Word, even when our circumstances overwhelm you.
Take-Away for Today
God rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Purpose to seek Him today in each situation, being mindful of taking up the Shield of Faith in Who He is in order to overcome Satan’s flaming arrows in your life.