We are gathering the Whole Armor of God!
The fourth piece of armor discussed in Ephesians 6 is the Shield of Faith.
“In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” Ephesians 6:26 (NLT)
Shield or scutum – photo credit
The shield the Romans used was very large and slightly curved. In the middle of the shield was a knob known as a boss. The size and slight curve helped protect the soldier well. The boss would deflect blows and helped push opponents back. The shield was effective when used together with other soldiers. When joined together, the army could defend from air borne attacks and attack straight on like a roving tank.
Our shield of faith will deflect the blows of Satan. He’ll keep firing those arrows, but as long as we find refuge in God and trust that he is our shield, the one in control, we will stand strong.
Several scriptures describe God as our shield, our protector:
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” Psalm 18:30 (NLT)
“my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3 (NLT)
“The LORD is my strength and shield…” Psalm 28:7 (NLT)
But for our shield to be effective, we have to make the effort to hold it up. Faith is not easy. It’s believing in the unseen. I like how Hebrews 11:1 in the New Living Translation reads:
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
If you could see it, you would believe it. “Seeing is believing”
Just as the Roman soldiers would protect one another by banding together in formation, Christians should also band together. The shields were more effective when all used them together for the same purpose. Christians can be more effective when we use our faith for a common purpose – spread the Gospel of Jesus.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
We should help one another in their faith – sharpen one another. We learn from one another, hold each other up in trials, and hold each other accountable.
We do all these things for our fellow Christian to help them keep the faith, the protection of God. Once we let down our shield, the devil’s attacks penetrate. Not only do we need to hold up our shield for our own protection, we must also hold up our shield for the protection of others. We each have to do our part so that there is not a hole in our defenses.
Faith is difficult and it takes effort, but even if our faith is small, it can still do great things. Take heart from Jesus’ words:
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
The next piece of armor we’ll gather up is our Helmet of Salvation.