Today’s article continues an eight week series on the armor of God. A very important part of being prepared spiritually for the “End Times” is being dressed in and utilizing the whole armor of God for Satan will be extremely powerful and even more deceptive because he knows that his time is short. The shield of faith is the next piece of armor to be put on by the Christian soldier. As the Christian soldier goes deep into enemy territory to rescue the perishing the devil will hurl a volley of flaming arrows to discourage you in your pursuit. Upon receiving one of his arrows, you may experience strong emotions of fear, emptiness, aloneness, and doubt that comes in an instant when you least expect it, and then your spirit cries out in anguish begging for someone to listen to your plight. These arrows are all the more destructive in power. They have the ability to pierce and seriously wound the soldier. When the piercing arrows of depression, anger, and fear are filling the air, we must learn to take refuge behind the shield of faith (see Proverbs 30:5). As we come together as believers, we can link our faith-shields to ward off the devil’s darts.
Let’s discover how to use the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. We begin by understanding the true nature of faith. According to the New Testament, the nature of faith is to live by the truth it receives from God’s Word, which is our divine testimony and to rest on the faith of God’s promises. These are our convictions held on grounds, not self-evidence, but of testimony. “They (the tribulation saints) overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their life so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11, italics are mine). The testimony of Christ is to live by the truth it receives. To live by the truth we receive is the assurance of our salvation and all the promises related to that salvation in Christ Jesus. Admittedly, there is false assurance that we will cover in the next article, “the helmet of salvation,” but at this point let’s make it clear to doubt any of the promises related to our salvation is another wile of the devil, but the Christian soldier can fight doubt by picking up the shield of faith.
To doubt that you have been forgiven is clearly another wile of the devil. If we are honest, most of us have had sin in our life that haunts us. It is that nagging feeling that makes us feel unworthy of God’s salvation and His wonderful promises. These feelings typically come when we feel quite good about our self or being honored by our peers. The old devil will whisper in your ear that you have not been totally forgiven because of the awfulness of your past sins. Giving into this flaming arrow without resisting it with the shield of faith will give the devil a foothold into so many areas of your life. He might then remind you of your unrighteousness, remind you that you got angry this morning, or any number of other sins. Dear friends, we must resist by picking up the shield of faith, believing that you have been totally forgiven of all of your sins past and present. Remind the devil that your sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12).
To doubt His promises is another wile of the devil. Faith is trusting God to fulfill all of His promises. If we are lonely, He has promised to make His home with us and call us friends (see John 14:23; 15:14). If we are depressed, He has promised to give us everything we need for life and godliness so that we can respond to our problems in a biblical way (see 2 Peter 1:3). If we are facing persecution, then He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6). If we are facing some difficulty, He has promised to work all things together for good for those who love Him (see Romans 8:28). If we are facing temptation, He has promised that we would not be tempted beyond what we can handle but give us a way of escape (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). If we fall into sin, He has promised to forgive even the guilt of our sin (see Psalm 32:5). Finally, one of God’s most spectacular promises ever made to man is the promise of transformation (See II Corinthians 5:17). Yet, humanity is still held in bondage believing they will never escape the old life. By far the devil has done his worst damage to the church by causing Christians to doubt this beautiful promise.
I believe that most Christians do not realize their full potential in Christ Jesus. This is due in large part to the designs of the devil, who has been convincing humanity from the beginning that he is limited by nature and personality. Moreover, his bondage is strengthened today by the teachings of science and psychology that have set boundaries on what man is capable of becoming. But who are we to speak back to the Creator and tell Him that we do not want to be fashioned in this or that way? Theologians have also joined the devil in his work by teaching that our true transformation is only possible once we get to heaven with little to be expected in the here and now. But what does God say? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Do you believe that? This is the promise of God to make you into a new creation, growing you from one degree of glory to another until you obtain the full statue of a mature Christian. How stupendous is this transformation? You are only limited by your imagination on what things could be like if you allow Christ to have His way in your life. The devil will lead you to believe that God cannot really change you and that your past is still holding you in bondage. He will tell you that you need behavior modification from the psychologist or medication to help you in controlling your behavior, but that’s a lie of the devil. We must pick up the shield of faith and believe that God can and will transform us into the perfect image of His Son Jesus Christ and keep all of His promises.
Accusations are another wile of the devil, but the Christian soldier can fight the devil’s accusations by picking up the shield of faith. These accusations are both to God the Father and to you as you struggle to walk in holiness before the Lord. Every little thing does not escape the attention of the devil and his horde of demons. Do something wrong, and he’s right there to throw mud in your face by saying, “and you call yourself a Christian!” Friend, don’t ever let the devil accuse you before the Father without you following quickly behind him, demonstrating true signs of repentance and asking God for forgiveness. Although some accusations are warranted and the need for repentance and confession are in order, there are many times when you are falsely accused by the devil or one of his minions. And when you are falsely accused, then you need to pick up the shield of faith, believing that God knows the truth and that you can count on His promises. Finally, faith never looks back, but it always looks forward. Every day is a new day with its own set of problems. The devil will always have you looking back, bringing up old problems, old hurts, and old negative attitudes to drag you down before you ever get started on a new day. Looking back will always discourage you and is a lack of faith in God to make all things new every day. The Psalmist said, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5). Dear Christian, don’t forget to hold up the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
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