Last Thursday, in “God’s Armour, Part 3”, we saw that when we put on those “gospel shoes” we are basically rooting and grounding ourselves on God’s love, that same love that He poured out on us through Jesus. When we make the gospel of Jesus Christ our firm foundation, we ensure that no matter how strong the wind of circumstance or how fierce the storm of trouble–we will stand!
This brings us to the next piece of armour that Jesus makes available to: “…and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”(Eph. 6:16 NET)
Of all the armour we are advised to take up, a shield is perhaps the one that makes the most sense to me. It has always been a vital part of any soldier’s armour, and in Roman times, the time in which Paul lived and wrote, the shield was as large as a door and could completely cover the warrior. Not only was it a defensive weapon, but it could also be used to push opponents away; and when fighting in a group, the soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves.* Thus, the shield was used to protect, screen, guard against, safeguard, provide security for, cover and defend.
This sounds like a pretty important piece of armour, doesn’t it? Especially since what we are fighting is not even of the physical world: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Eph. 6:11-12 NET)
And what is this “shield” made of?
Interestingly, the Roman shield was often made of a flammable substance: Wood!*
The Bible tells us that our spiritual shield is made up of our faith, and faith is: “… being sure of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1 NET).
Now I don’t know about you, but my faith is often kind of like that wooden shield of the Romans: It is flammable! Sure, my faith is growing, but as soon as one of those fiery darts of the enemy comes my way, it becomes shaky at best, and it often seems to “go up in smoke”.
Wood wasn’t the only material used in the construction of these roman shields, however. History tells us that the base, wood, would then be covered in animal hide. Because animal hide can also be flammable, the hide-covered Roman shields would then be dipped in water, thus giving this flammable piece of armour the ability to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy.*
The good news about our spiritual shield is that it, too, can be covered in animal hide and dipped in water! Let’s remember that when Adam and Eve first sinned, God gave them a covering of–Animal hide (See Gen. 3:21)! He would later, under the Old Covenant, command that the people make animal sacrifices, and the blood was used as a symbol of the washing away of our sins that would happen when Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross (Ex. 29:10-14; Heb. 10). Thus the “animal hide” is symbolic of Jesus’ blood sacrifice that once and for all forgave all of our sin, and our faith cannot stand without the firm foundation of Salvation. “Water” is also an often-used symbol that refers to a number of things in the Bible, including: the Word of God (See Ephesians 5:26), the knowledge of God (See Isaiah 55:10-11), and the presence of God (See Hosea 6:3). In the same way that the wooden, animal-hide-covered shield of the Roman soldiers were dipped in water, our spiritual shields of faith, covered by the blood of Jesus, must also be dipped in spiritual water to render them useful in our spiritual battles.
In summary then, what our often-times shaky faith-shields need in order to provide us with adequate protection from those “flaming arrows of the evil one”, namely temptation, addiction, circumstance, and especially this time of year, materialism, commercialism and tradition that the enemy of our souls continually throws our way, is to be covered in the “blood of the lamb”, and then “dipped in water” by spending time in the Word of God, by increasing in the knowledge of God, and by spending time in the presence of God!
I encourage each of you today to spend some time with God thinking about what it means to take up the shield of faith. Accept His Christmas gift of Salvation with all of its other beautiful parts–joy, peace, victory, healing, freedom, etc. Then spend time contemplating God’s goodness to you and to others around you. Spend time in His Word and in His presence, and continue to grow in the knowledge of God. Then when the flaming arrows of temptation, doubt, discouragement are at the door, you will face them changed, empowered, protected, ready to continue the battle, “…so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day” and then, “…and having done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13 NET).
Join us next Tuesday for “God’s Armour, Part 5: The Helmet of Salvation.”
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter@lynchaffart.
*Taken from: https://gotquestions.org/shield-of-faith.html
(To access the entire “God’s Armour” mini-series, please click here.)