We have already seen how powerful faith is as a means of our salvation, as the only thing that pleases God and as the key to the door of God’s Storehouse of Grace.
The Bible also presents faith as a vital weapon in our warfare with the enemy. It is not an offensive weapon, but a powerful protective tool, to diffuse the attacks made against us. It is used as a spiritual shield, the Shield of Faith.
Faith as a Shield
Paul the Apostle listed a spiritual armoury for Christians, including a belt, shoes, sword, helmet and the shield, which is faith.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16
Notice that the shield is a defensive weapon, but that the shield of faith not only protects what is behind it, but actually neutralises the weapons used against the Christian. The devil and his servants use ‘fiery darts’ which are potentially very dangerous. Those darts are extinguished by faith.
The Bible tells us that the devil is an ‘accuser of the brethren’ (Revelation 12:10), that he has various ‘devices‘ or strategies he uses against us (2Corinthians 2:11), that he is a liar (John 8:44), and that he uses fear against us (Hebrew 2:14,15).
The fiery darts could involve accusations, such as “You are not a very good Christian!” Or they could be lies which bring fear into our heart, such as “You will die of a horrible disease”. The devil can craft fiery darts which will hurt us at our most vulnerable points, uniquely impacting us, even though the same accusation or lie might not affect others the same way.
Many people’s faith is destroyed or held back by the many lies that challenge them. The devil says the Bible cannot be relied on and is unscientific. The devil says God is not real and religion is a human trick to sooth troubled minds. The devil says you are not good enough and will fail in your attempts to please God. The devil says he has power to hurt you with pain, sickness and death. The devil says that serving God will be bad for you. The devil says you can become great, without God, using your own abilities. And he says much more that seduces, terrifies, deceives or traps people.
Quenching Fiery Darts
Faith enables us to quench those fiery darts, because faith in God and God’s Word puts truth in our hands and protects our heart from the lies, fears and deceptions.
Remember that faith, based on the definitional verse I have used through this series, Hebrews 11:6, is a confidence that God is who He says He is in the Bible, and that God will reward you for trusting in Him and His Word.
So, when the devil lies to you that “You are not a very good Christian” you can extinguish that accusation with faith. You can declare that only God is good (Matthew 19:17). You can declare that there is nothing good in man (Romans 7:18). You can then declare that you are saved by your faith in Christ, not your goodness (Ephesians 2:8,9). So now it does not matter that you are ‘not a very good Christian’, because it is not up to you to make yourself good. You can then thank God that He loves you and has saved you from your sin. You can rest in the confidence that it is God who saves you, not you saving yourself. You can thank Him that He accepts and forgives you, just the way you are. You can confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour and that you rely only on Him.
By doing these things the fiery dart loses its sting and has no effect on you.
When the devil tries to fill you with fear, such as that you will die of some disease, you can neutralise that fiery dart of fear with the shield of faith.
You can remember that God’s plans for you are for good, not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). You can remember the promises in Psalm 91, that you will be kept safe under God’s wings and protected from the dangers that happen to others. You can remember God’s promises to protect you from all the diseases which came upon the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26). You can declare that you trust God to heal you by the stripes of Jesus, even if you were to be sick (1Peter 2:24). You can declare that even if you were to die, that would lead you to better things, not worse things (Philippians 1:21). You can then declare, as Job did, that even if God killed you, you could no better than to fully trust Him (Job 13:15).
You can confront the enemy’s fears by saying, “I will not fear what the enemy can do to me” (Psalm 118:6). Then you can boldly claim that you will not die, but live, and glorify God (Psalm 118:17).
You can do what David did and say, “When I am afraid I put my trust in God” (Psalm 56:3).
Standing on God’s promises and resisting fear enable you to put out the fearful thoughts and torments which the enemy tries to being into your heart and mind.
Describing the Shield
While we are not told what the shield looks like or how it is designed, we know, since it is a shield of faith, that it has two major components.
The shield rings with confidence that God is who He says He is. The shield captures the dimensions of God Himself. Those who have faith “believe that He is” – they believe that God exists, just the way the Bible says He does. So that gives them a Huge shield.
The shield is also glowing with confidence that God ‘will’ bless. It is quick to action because it rejoices in the confidence that God is every willing to bring blessing. God Can do what needs to be done, and the shield of faith is confident that God WILL do it too!
Thus wielding the shield automatically prompts confidence, inspiring the holder to ‘come boldly to God’s throne (storehouse) of grace to receive grace whenever it is needed’.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, so we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Smith Wigglesworth was such a man of faith that he is even described as the Apostle of Faith. One story from his remarkable life shows the amazing rest and confidence that can be enjoyed by someone who is strong in faith and who wears the shield of faith all the time.
One night Wigglesworth was woken by the shaking of his bed. He opened his eyes and saw the devil himself standing at the end of his bed, looking as menacing as he could. Wigglesworth said, “Oh, it’s only you.” Then he rolled over and went back to sleep.
I encourage you to become men and women of faith, who so wield the shield of faith that you, too, are unable to be intimidated or shaken, no matter what may come your way.