Ephesians 6: 14 – 17
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Again, I’m going to Chuck Swindoll for the description of the Roman soldier’s shoes. “The Roman legionaries wore heavy sandals with soles made of several layers of leather averaging 2 centimetres, studded with hollow-headed hobnails. They were tied by leather thongs half-way up the shin and were stuffed with wool or fur in the cold weather. These shoes were ideal for fast-moving hand-to-hand combat. Like today’s football and soccer cleats, they were meant to give maximum footing and traction to prevent sliding. They were designed to function in any terrain and were adaptable to any climate.” (p. 311, Living Insights)
In a way, the shoes described as the “peace that comes from the Good News” are similar to the breastplate of righteousness. We can stand firm when we know we are accepted by God. There is incredible peace when we stand on God’s promises. Here are more verses from Romans 8 that help us to stand secure and peacefully”
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (v. 26 – 28)
“If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (v. 31 – 39)
Don’t those verses give you amazing peace?
Verse 16 tells us to “hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil”. The shields the Romans used were apparently quite large – about 4 and a half feet tall. They were heavy and if soldiers stood in a row and held those shields up, they formed a protective wall. Chuck Swindoll writes, “The barrage of flaming arrows we experience in the Christian life can take many forms. Let me name a few: temptation, doubt, anger, frustration, pride, despair, fear, guilt, shame, confusion, deception, discouragement, depression, hopelessness, greed, lust, presumption, stubbornness, laziness, suspicion, jealousy, hate, discord, conflict … the list continues on and on. In short, the kinds of fiery attacks at the devil’s finger tips are virtually innumerable. The shield of faith, however, provides an impenetrable protection from these things.” (p. 311, Living Insights)
Our faith is based on truth – the truth of Scripture. With that intelligent mind that God created in us, at some point in our life, we decided that we believed what the Bible said. I was 8 years old when I made that decision, but as you can guess, it was a decision that I questioned as I got older. In my early twenties, as I worked on completing my degree at university, I wondered if what I had been taught and believed was really true. I had plenty of profs and friends who were quite willing to say that Christianity was a myth, something people had dreamt up ages ago because they weren’t educated enough, didn’t have the science knowledge we have today. But I wasn’t able to shake what I had experienced in my life so far, nor what I had seen in Christians I knew. Faith is a decision we make to trust what God says is true. Hebrews 11 is a great faith chapter telling the stories of people who lived by faith – Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and many more. That chapter starts this way, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. (v.1) Later in that same chapter it says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him”. (v. 6)
When tough stuff in life happens, our faith protects us from abandoning what we believe is true. I think faith grows over time as we experience one thing after another and realize that God helped us through various situations. I know that in my 30’s and 40’s, I trusted in God, but not the way I do now. As I’ve seen answered prayer, experienced calm and peace in hard situations, my faith has become stronger. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit and his promptings as I’ve faced life. My faith has grown because God has been with me and taken care of me. It’s not my ability that grows my faith; it’s God’s love and care. It’s reading my Bible and the verses that assure me that God knows and understands.
Faith is definitely a shield in spiritual warfare.
Our song for today is Walk by Faith by Jeremy Camp