Suit Up--Part 6

"...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Eph. 6
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When you think of a shield, what comes to mind? We have windshields, sun shields, weather shield, and Blue Shield. The word shield implies protection from something, which is exactly what Paul had in mind when he told us to take up the Shield of Faith.
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But let's get away from the mental gymnastics that spiritual talk often produces. The word "faith" sometimes acts as a mute button in our minds. We instantly shift from the concrete to the abstract and too many people get lost right there.
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We think, "Oh, that's nice for church conversation, but it doesn't help with the mess I'm in right now. Faith sounds all soft and innocent, but it's not much good when I'm up against the wall. I need something concrete like money, a better job, a nicer spouse, or the location of my child. Church words just don't make the crossover into real life."
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That's exactly why the Apostle Paul used such concrete imagery to describe our real battles. He knew we thought like that, because he did too. So he describes our weaponry in vivid war terms and the best way to describe faith in God was to compare it to a shield.
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Shields protect. They form an impenetrable barrier between our vulnerability and the danger attacking us. A Roman shield was made out of iron, two layers of wood, and covered with leather. A gap was left between layers so that arrows dipped in pitch and set fire would penetrate just far enough to stick and be extinguished. If they fell to the ground, they could set the grass on fire. They needed not only to be stopped, but quenched.
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Get the picture?
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Paul reminds us that if our faith in God's truth is strong enough it not only stops Satan's flaming arrows, it puts them completely out so they don't catch something else on fire. The enemy shoots at us with blasphemous thoughts, nagging doubts, overwhelming hopelessness, and burning desires to sin.
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Without our shield, those fiery arrows can destroy us. We feel them sink into our heart and suddenly, they are our own. "Yeah, I should have the right to decide my own life...Sin is an old-fashioned concept...Life just isn't worth it. I should end it all..."
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With one well-placed missile, our faith in the goodness of God is shattered. As the enemy pounds against us, the rest of the armor starts to slip as well. "Maybe the Bible isn't the word of God after all...Maybe all religions are the same...Maybe I'm standing fast for nothing..."
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So how do you keep your shield shiny and ready for battle?
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1. Accept that your mind does not have to comprehend everything your spirit knows.
2. Choose to act on what you believe rather than only what you see or understand.
3. Take every thought captive the moment you are aware it is not from God. (2 Cor. 10:5)
4. Speak the word (rhema) of God until the missile is quenched.
5. Saturate your spirit with worship--like spraying water on a spark before it becomes raging
grass fire. Satan hates it and often won’t stay around long.
6. Seek opportunities to share your faith. A shared faith grows rapidly.
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Just as you would never drive down the interstate without a windshield on your car, don't try to live this life without your Shield of Faith properly polished and ready. Satan would love to take you out of the game with a single blow. Don't give him the chance.

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