Shield of Faith
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).
The shield is the fourth piece of armor that Paul instructs every believer to use in our battle against the enemy. There were two types of shields used by a Roman soldier. One type of shield was small and strapped to the arm to be used as protection in hand-to-hand combat. The shield Paul referred to in this analogy was tall and broad and was used to protect the entire body from the air assault of arrows and spears. The soldiers who carried these shields would line up shoulder to shoulder to form an impenetrable wall.
First, we must realize he is commanding us to take up our shield in every circumstance of life.
Second, Paul does not instruct us as believers to go find or purchase a shield of our choice. Every Christian has been given a shield because every Christian has faith in God. So, what is Paul’s command? That we take it up and use our faith as a defense against the attacks of the enemy. The Christian faith is reliable and powerful because the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, is perfectly reliable and infinitely powerful.
Third, this war language is not just Paul’s use of symbolism; it is real. We are under attack from the evil one. He tempts with the purpose for us to distrust the truth of God. Jesus describes the Devil as having nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him (John 8:44). Every scheme of his is intended to cause us to doubt God. All sin, at the base level, is a failure to act in faith in God. This is why Paul commands us to take up our faith; it is our shield.
Finally, we must pray for the Spirit to cause us to discern the deceitful temptations from the enemy. And then, by our unwavering faith in the character and plans of our great God, expose the lies and extinguish the temptations.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).