Faith Factor 15 – Build Your Faith

Your faith is your responsibility. You have been given a measure of faith, as everyone has (Romans 12:3). It is your responsibility to use the faith you have and to build it up. So this lesson looks at how you can build your faith.

Faith in Various Sizes

People can have “little faith” (Mark 8:26), “great faith” (Mark 8:10), “faith as a grain of mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20) and “no faith” (Mark 4:40). While we all have the capacity for faith and have all been given a measure of faith, our personal faith capacity changes over time and even from moment to moment.

The variation in our amount of faith is dependent on us. It is up to us to do something about our level of faith and to choose to activate our faith.

Your Faith Determines Outcomes

There are several occasions in the life of Jesus where He reveals that the outcome a person received was directly linked to their level of faith. The expression, “Be it unto you according to your faith” occurs several times in various forms.

“Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” Matthew 9:29

On another occasion we are told that Jesus did not do many mighty works specifically because of the lack of faith, or the high level of “unbelief” that was operating there.

“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Mark 13:58

On another occasion we see Blind Bartimaeus determined to receive from Jesus. The man called to Jesus, was told by the crowd to be quiet, but cried out even louder. Jesus sent for him and then asked him what he wanted. The man said, “That I might receive my sight”. Jesus then healed him, telling him that it was the man’s faith that made him whole.

“And Jesus said to him, Go your way; your faith has made you whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” Mark 10:52

We see quite clearly in that series of events that the only reason the miracle occurred was because the man was sure that God “could” heal him and was determined that Jesus “would” heal him. Truly his faith was at work.

If Bartimaeus had listened to the crowd he would not have been healed.

Your Faith is Your Fault

We are held accountable for our use of the faith God has given us. God can rightly judge us if He has given us faith and we have decided not to use it.

When Jesus saw that His disciples were fearful in a storm He challenged them about the fact that they had “no faith”.

“And he said to them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:40

On other occasions Jesus told them not to be fearful but to believe.

“Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hear your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27

He even rebuked His disciples for not believing the report of His resurrection.

“Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” Mark 16:14

So, your level of faith is something which the Lord could rebuke you for. If He was to check your faith right now would He have occasion to rebuke you for not activating your faith?

Activate Your Faith

We saw in the verses just quoted that Jesus could insist that people believe and even rebuke those who did not. Your faith is your fault.

So you are to activate your faith in several ways. One is to make a choice to believe. Faith is, in reality, a choice to believe. You need to make up your mind that you will believe what God said. That’s what we see in those cases where Jesus specifically instructed people to “believe”.

“Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hear your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27

“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken (that the man’s daughter was dead), he said to the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” Mark 5:36

The Apostle Jude gave us specific instruction to build ourselves up in the area of our “most holy faith”.

“But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 1:20

How to Build Faith

Two keys to building up our faith that I will point out here are that of prayer and “hearing” the Word of God. The Apostle Jude, in giving us instruction to build up our faith, indicates that this is done by “praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).

Paul used the expression “pray in the Spirit” to refer to praying in the heavenly “tongues” language which he enjoyed and taught about. So it seems that Jude was also refer to the “speaking in tongues” type of prayer. Paul tells us that such praying means we are “speaking mysteries”.

“For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God (that’s what “prayer” is): for no man understands him; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” 1Corinthians 14:2

Taking time each day to pray “in the Spirit” will build up “your most holy faith”.

The other way to build up your faith is by “hearing the Word of God”, as Paul explained to the church at Rome.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

Hearing of Faith

When you “hear” God’s Word you need to be careful how you “hear”. If you hear it as a religious notion you won’t activate your faith. If you hear it as someone’s opinion you won’t activate your faith. You must hear the Word of God for what it is, God’s Living Word to you, in which you are to place your faith and release the power of God.

“And he said to them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure you measure out, that’s how it will be measured to you: and to you that hear will more be given.” Mark 4:24

The fact that hearing the message builds faith is captured by Paul in his term “the hearing of faith”. He challenges the believers in Galatia that they received the Holy Spirit and worked miracles as a consequence of the “hearing of faith”.

“This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:2

“He therefore that ministers the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:5

The way you receive, or “hear” the Word of God determines whether it produces faith in your heart. You need to open your heart to God’s Word, so it can come alive within you, you can believe it, and the Word can be “made flesh”, which means it becomes a reality in your natural life.

Steward of Your Faith

You are a steward of the faith which God has given you. He will hold you accountable for how you use the faith which He has entrusted to you.

Be a good steward. Use what God has given you and add to it, by building up your faith. Hear God’s Word. Act on the faith you have. Choose to believe. Press in for the miracles which God has for you.

Remember, God “can” do it. And God “will” do it, as a reward for those who diligently seek Him. If you choose to believe that you activate your faith and bring delight to your Heavenly Father.

Faith Factor 14 – Good Fight of Faith

Faith is for fighting! In all that we have learned about faith there is the reminder that faith involves a form of contending, or fighting, to see a spiritual breakthrough.

Yes, I have spoken about the “rest of faith”, and that doesn’t sound like fighting. Yes, I have spoken about the rewards of faith. But I have also spoken about the need to “apprehend” and to hold fast to our faith, even when it is being tried and the results do not turn up.

Birth Pangs

At times faith is like giving birth. While the outcome is glorious and makes for an impressive testimony, once everything is over, the actual process of bringing the spiritual outcome to reality can be a protracted labour.

Sometimes we are assailed with doubts and counter arguments, insisting that we should give up our faith or our outrageous expectations. Sometimes we face insurmountable circumstances, expert medical opinions, and obstacles which dwarf the little faith we have.

Holding on in faith, and persisting until we have the victory, can be a long and tortuous battle against unseen assailants, the attitudes and opinions of those around us and our own private insecurities.

As with a natural birth, once the outcome has been achieved, the pain of the process is easily put behind us.

Faith and Trials

It seems that faith needs trials to refine and test its quality. If faith is never tested, then we can never be sure of its durability and value. When faith stands up to the pressure test, heat test, wind and storm test, and so on, then we can see how strong that faith is.

Facing these trials of our faith is part of “fighting the good fight of faith”.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1Timothy 6:12

Facing these trials is also so much a part of the process that the Bible speaks of the “trial of your faith” as it is a natural thing to be expected.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” 1Peter 1:7

Refining Fire

When the Apostle Peter mentioned that our faith is “tried with fire” (1Peter 1:7) he was alluding to the process of refining gold and precious metals. Gold is super-heated so the rubbing (dross) will float to the surface to be skimmed off. The way to tell that the gold is pure is to heat it and see that no rubbish comes to the surface.

“The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.” Proverbs 17:3

God puts you under pressure to see how your heart and your faith will respond. If you have confidence in God you will give thanks in everything. If you have no faith in God you will panic and despair when troubles come. If you can “rest” in God, amid all your problems, then your faith is strong. If you can praise Him despite what you are going through then your faith is strong.

Do not be afraid of the delays, opposition, frustrations and so on, since they give you opportunity to “fight the good fight of faith” and press through to victory.

Remember, you will not be tested beyond what you can handle.

“No temptation has come upon you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you can handle; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, so you can bear it.” 1Corinthians 10:13

Head For the Red Sea

In my teenage years, as I first came to understand the awesome dimension of faith, I also realised that faith and trials go hand in hand. The Biblical example that impressed me was what happened to the Children of Israel as they moved away from Egypt.

The Israelites had already been set free from slavery. They were made fabulously wealthy with the jewels of Egypt. They walked out of Egypt as the victors. The faith of Moses, persisting in obeying God, despite the opposition of Pharaoh and the Israelites, had won them the victory.

Yet God then led them to the Red Sea. It is understood that the place they found themselves in had the sea in front of them, mountains on either side, and the Egyptians coming after them from behind. However, this was no accident. God deliberately led them there, knowing He would work a miracle to destroy the Egyptians.

The Red Sea also became Israel’s first trial of faith after gaining their freedom. And so, what did they do? They panicked and rose up against Moses. They accused him of leading them there to kill them (Exodus 14:11,12). Moses, on the other hand, was full of faith in God. That’s why I like him as my Faith Mentor. He declared that they would be victorious, even before he knew what God was going to do.

“And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show you to day: for the Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you will see again no more for ever. The LORD will fight for you, and you will hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13,14

Many Trials

That ordeal at the Red Sea was not the last trial of the Israelites. Many times God tested them, to see whether they would trust Him or not. They needed water at times. They needed food. God led them to places where the provisions were not visible.

If they were full of faith they would have simply confessed their confidence in God to supply their needs. They would have maintained faith that God, who set them free, would lead them all the way to the Promised Land. Each new trial would have had them looking eagerly for the next miracle.

Instead they caved in, accused God, rejected God’s man and proved they did not have faith.

The Heart Tried

The trials of your faith, which you are to win through on, are part of you fighting the good fight of faith. And that good fight of faith is fought in our own heart. It is God who fights with our enemies and deals with our circumstances. That is not our part to do. Ours is to win the battle against our fears, doubts, weakness, and so on.

Moses knew the truth. God does the fighting for us. So, our fight of faith is not against people or circumstances. Our fight happens in the inner recesses of our life, where we choose to “only believe” despite what the report says.

We win the fight when our heart is established in confidence in God’s grace. No matter what people say or do to us, or what the expert prognosis may be, we win when we determine to trust God and stand upon His promises.

When your faith is tried and you continue to trust in God, you develop a divine patience to wait on God. You are not covetous and not impatient or demanding. You trust God and rest in Him.

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.” James 1:3

The ancient holy man, Job, won the battle of faith when he said, “Though He kills me I will yet trust in Him!” (Job 13:15)

Your Faith

I cannot have faith for you. Your faith belongs uniquely to you. If I grow in faith, that has no bearing on your faith. You must grow your own faith.

“Be it unto you according to YOUR faith” (Matthew 9:29). It is the trial of YOUR faith that works patience (James 1:3). So, value your own faith and build it strong.

You build up your faith in various ways, and that will be the theme of the next Faith Factor.

Faith Factor 13 – Seek Him

This series has been building your faith and directing its effective operation, so you can enjoy the awesome things which God has prepared for you. I have shown you that faith is the very substance of things which you believe for, and that God has a storehouse of Grace, filled with unbelievably good things already prepared for you.

I have shown you that faith is the key to that wonderful storehouse and that you are to speak the word of faith to match what you believe in your heart, which is in line with God’s Word.

I have shown you that God is blessed when you step out in faith because your faith pleases Him. And, since it is God’s good pleasure to give you things, and your reaching out for them pleases Him, you can create Double Delight for the Lord by stepping out in faith.

The Focal Point

Where some faith preachers derail their followers is that they become so excited about what faith can achieve in a believer’s life that they fall into one of several traps. One distraction is to become excited about faith, for faith’s sake, putting faith on a pedestal and putting faith in their faith. I have spoken out against this several times already.

Another trap is that covetousness creeps in and the believers begin to think about what they can get out of God, through exercising their faith. This leads into the “prosperity gospel” and “blab it and grab it” mentality which has developed in some places.

Covetousness is an expression of self-focus, rather than focus on God. If you are concerned about what you can get for yourself, then you are not living your life sacrificially for God’s glory.

I need you to see again that God is the absolute and ultimate focal point of our faith. We are not to become distracted by faith or by what we can get by using faith. We are to remain totally committed to and devoted in service to God.

It’s About Seeking Him

Let me take you back to the definitional verse I use as the basis for this study series. It is Hebrews 11:6, from which we discover that faith pleases God and that faith is the combination of believing that God “can” and that God “will” bless us.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Notice those words highlighted there. God is a rewarder of those who “seek Him”. Faith works when we are not seeing faith or the goodies faith can bring into our lives, but when we are seeking God!

Seek Him, or you will end up seeking the faith to get the outcomes you want. It’s about Him, not You!

It’s All About HIM

Do not seek the outcome which faith can open to you. Do not seek your own personal advancement or aggrandizement. Do not seek to finally prove yourself, get the things you have always wanted, set yourself up for life, or any other self-interested outcome.

Seek Him and Him only. Your “reward” is not found in the material outcome, but in Him.

While your heart might seek wealth, security and comfort, think about this. If you get some material advancement, but miss out on getting God, you have come up empty. The material advantage will slip away, and you will be left with nothing.

If you are seeking “Him” then you will have the most wonderful riches of all. You will be blessed with “all spiritual blessings” in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).

He is our life. He is the prize beyond all prizes and the treasure beyond all treasures.

Renounce that Covetousness

If God is not enough for you, then you will die miserable. If God is not a reward in your life, then how can mere material things satisfy you? Your heart is deceptive and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and it lies to you that material goods, relief from financial pressure, and similar outcomes are worth more to you than intimate relationship with God. Eve sought something more than her awesome place of personal fellowship with God, and she lost God’s presence, without getting anything of what she hoped to gain.

If you resonate with that, then realise that you have a covetous heart. You have allowed lust and covetousness to wheedle their way into your heart and they are now demanding something other than what God’s Spirit is longing for from within you.

Renounce that Covetousness and clean up your heart. Do not chase that which does not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2). Do you consume the years of your life chasing an illusion. Seek God. Find the treasure that is beyond any attempt to value it.

God is the Reward

God told Abraham that He, God, is a reward of immense proportions.

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1

Having God in your life is amazingly rewarding. He is the reward in Himself. If you had a life filled with vain distractions, indulgence and all that your heart could desire, there is no guarantee that you could even sleep at night. Many of those who have the things you are tempted to covet live in fear, torment, shame, emptiness and regret.

Material rewards do not have any of the rich value of spiritual blessings.

Lean Soul

Covetousness will create a famine on the inside of you. When you long for “things” you bring trouble upon yourself and your inner life shrivels up. The love of money is a root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). Those who are keen to become rich pierce themselves through with many pains (1Timothy 6:9).

“But they that will to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:9,10

When the Israelites longed for the things their soul craved, they demanded it from God. God gave them what they wanted, even though it was not good for them. The result was that the people’s soul’s shrivelled and became “lean”.

“They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:13-15

If you take faith as a spiritual tool you can use to get what you want you will be sending a famine into your soul. Seek God, or end up empty and filled with regret.

Distracted by Him

Rather than being distracted from your spiritual life because of things which you lust for, it is far better to be distracted by God from your material life. Seek God. If you do not have it in you to seek God, then seek to have the will to seek Him.

You could even pray a prayer like this, ….

“Lord God, I know I should be seeking you, but I can’t get excited about doing that. I want to value you above everything else, but I am distracted by things which my heart lusts after. I ask You to invade my life and arrest my senses. Bring me to the place where I long only for You and can find all my fulfilment and blessing in being totally distracted by You. Please come and rescue me from the weakness and failure of my own human heart. I ask this in Jesus’ wonderful and powerful name, Amen”.

Faith Factor 12 – Double Delight

We saw in Faith Factor 3 that our faith “pleases” God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore only faith pleases God. That sets up a situation where faith becomes the “Double Delight”, and so that is my theme in this lesson.

Faith Pleases God

We know that faith pleases God, and we saw in lesson 4 that it is “Only Faith” that does the job. When you choose to put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, God is pleased. When you step out in faith and rely on God, God is pleased.

When you do anything without faith being part of it, God is not pleased.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

In fact, if you are not engaging faith you are in sin!

“And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not in faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

No wonder, then, that Christians must have a complete lifestyle of faith; living by faith, because only faith pleases God.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Faith Not Results

We have a tendency to evaluate faith based on the “results” it produces. If we hear of someone who believed God for great things and those things came to pass we ascribe them as possessing “great faith”. Yet if another person steps out to believe God for great things and those things do not come to pass we see the person as foolish, irresponsible and lacking in faith.

Now, that tendency which humans fall into so easily is against what God thinks. God’s ways are higher than ours and we should always be ready to give up our natural thinking, since it will likely be far below God’s best.

Hebrews 11, the chapter listing the Heroes of Faith, not only lists people who achieved great exploits, but also those who seem to fail miserably. The early verses speak of Noah, the patriarchs and Moses. Then the list includes great achievers such as Samson and David. Great exploits are listed.

However, before the chapter ends mention is made, with equal respect, to people who suffered terribly and new saw some great breakthrough.

“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” Hebrews 11:36,37

Celebrating Faith

We are ready to celebrate results, but God celebrates faith. It is “faith” that delights God, not might, money, muscle or mission accomplished.

God was delighted with those who were tortured or cut in two. God did not see them as ‘losers’ who couldn’t get the victory, but as ‘winners’ who brought delight to Him, by their faith.

And that’s a real turn-around for many Christians. Some of the people we look down on as having failed in their faith venture are included in God’s list of modern-day faith heroes. Some of those who made newspaper headlines and whose names have been mocked for their failed attempt to achieve for God are actually celebrated in heaven, while we have not yet made an impression there.

Did Moses Fail?

I always saw Moses fleeing from Egypt as a real loser. I have heard preachers heap scorn on Moses for trying to help the Israelites in his human strength and then falling flat on his face. Moses’ flight from Egypt is seen as a symbol of failed humanity.

Moses killed an Egyptian, but was then rejected by an Israelite who was fighting with his brother. As a result Moses feared and Moses fled.

“And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:14-15

That sure looks like “failure” to me. And that’s how I always thought of it, not noticing what Hebrews 11 said about it, until many years later, despite reading it several times.

Moses the Faith Hero

Moses is not only listed among the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11, he is specifically commended for the very act of running away. What looks like failure from human perspective turns out to be a delight to God, from God’s perspective.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:24-27

If Moses can look like a failure to human eyes and yet be recorded in Heaven as a hero, then how many other people who we think of as failures have brought delight to God’s heart?

Faith Brings Delight

Our faith, and only our faith, brings delight to God. We don’t have to win or get the breakthrough to have pleased God. It is the faith, not the outcome, that is important.

God looks at the heart, not the record books. When God sees faith in the heart God is delighted. The person may stumble and fall, fail at their attempt, make a mess, offend others who despise their actions and failure, or whatever, but God will still be delighted with the faith that was in their heart.

I talked with a stranger on a plane many years ago who turned out to be the son of a pastor who stepped out to achieve something for God. The venture failed and the man was so shamed and attacked that he left the ministry. The son felt a need to apologise for his father’s actions. But I wonder if God might see that man’s venture entirely differently to how the newspapers saw it.

A Second Delight

We know that our faith brings a delight to God.

So where is the second delight? How do I come up with a “Double Delight”?

When you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace and apprehend anything that God has for you in there, including, as Paul did, apprehending that for which you were apprehended (Philippians 3:12), God is delighted. So, what about another level of delight?

Daddy’s Delight

The second delight is the delight of God’s Father heart in giving good things to His children.

Parents enjoy blessing their children and God is no different. God gives good gifts to His children. He will give them better things than earthly fathers give to their children.

Look for the ideas of “father” and “pleasure” in this statement made by Jesus Christ …

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Wow! God gets a great delight out of giving things to His children!

And look here at an Old Testament statement about the delight God gets in giving…

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Psalm 35:27

King David was confident that God enjoyed blessing His children.

God is delighted to give.

Double or Nothing

Every time you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace to take hold of what God has already prepared for you and placed in there, you have to use faith. That faith pleases God. It brings Him delight.

But at the same time you are receiving from Him, as His child, the very things He is delighted to give you as your Heavenly Father.

When you ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight. God enjoys your act of faith and God enjoys being able to give you what He always wanted you to have.

Delightful Faith

Let me recap the Double Delight, so you can see how delightful faith is to God.

God is delighted to give.

When we ask in faith God is also delighted.

So when we ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight.

You can put two smiles on God’s face at the same time!

So, let’s do it!

Faith Factor 11 – Shield of Faith

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.

Fiery Darts

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.

Quenching Fear

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

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.