You’ve seen the ads where that little green lizard promises coverage for almost everything– car, motorcycle, you name it. Well one thing he can’t protect is your heart.
One might respond that our hearts are already pretty well covered with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and footwear of peace. However, Paul knows better, and that is why he states: “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith.”
The term Paul uses refers to the Roman long shield, which was about 4 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide. This height provided the soldier cover from eye-level down to the knees, where the greaves that surrounded the ankles and calves picked up the coverage.
So why is the shield so necessary? Paul explains: “with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” These projectiles had their tips set aflame, which would cause severe pain and consequently create a major distraction to the soldier, hindering him or even disabling him from fighting. It would make it rather hard to focus on the fight with a flaming arrow sticking in your left cheek or right thigh.
The particular projectiles Paul has in view are not being launched by Roman enemies but by the wicked one, Satan, who by the way is a rather good shot. He knows where we are vulnerable.
I believe that these projectiles are comprised of circumstances of life that if allowed to get to us will put us in turmoil. The previous implements of protection provide confidence and peace under normal circumstances. They enable us to handle Satan’s taunts and accusations. But then comes the nasty circumstances that apart from the shield can penetrate to our heart, disrupting and even destroying us.
Varieties of Projectiles
On the Roman battlefield these missiles could be darts, spears, or arrows. Likewise, Satan’s arsenal includes a variety of projectiles, and he knows just which one will be most effective against us.
- One that can easily get to most of us consists of financial reversals. Have you ever lost sleep because you did not see how you could possibly make it through financially? Me too. I have been without a job for an extended period twice.
- Or how about enemies in the workplace or elsewhere that seemed to be doing a good job of destroying you?
- Then there is the arrow of temptation, perhaps not a flirtatious man or woman, but the more deadly arrow of someone whose genuine kindness and sincerity unwittingly start to draw you into a relationship.
- A very lethal type fiery spear that currently is filling the air is found in the wickedness of our government that is very quickly destroying our nation on virtually every front. If we allow these deadly spears to lodge in our hearts they will create such inner turmoil, fear, and frustration that they will render us incapable of fighting. This does not mean that we do not fight these destructive forces, but rather that we need to guard our hearts so that we can fight them effectively.
- There is also the barrage of responsibility darts all fired at the same time with the objective of making us feel overwhelmed, believing that there is no possible way to get it all done.
So the list could go on almost endlessly of different types of fiery circumstance missiles that if successful in getting through to our hearts will make us ineffective as combatants and vulnerable to satanic destruction.
Faith as a Shield
What is our protection? Paul says, “The shield of faith.” Specifically what is he referring to?
Faith constitutes a commitment to Christ that transports us into a whole new realm of living. When we received Christ, not only were sins forgiven, but according to Colossians “He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13) Now residing in that realm, we have access to all of the provisions that kingdom offers, all of the resources we will ever need. We are promised that God is working all things together for our good, that He will provide for all of our needs, that He will empower us with all might, that He will impart to us His wisdom for every situation.
It is that confidence that comprises the shield of faith. As Satan throws his fiery darts of life’s circumstances at us we can keep every one of them from reaching our hearts and creating turmoil and discouragement by holding up this shield of faith.
How are you responding the life’s circumstances today? If you are struggling, grab hold of the shield of faith that will enable you to ward off those fiery.