This Sunday we look at "The Shield of Faith" from Ephesians 6. The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body. It was made of wood covered with hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before a battle, it could extinguish fiery arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. Paul said that it was strong enough to extinguish all the fiery darts of the enemy. What does it represent? Most commentators say that Satan sends shafts of temptation, doubt, accusation, lust, greed and that the shield of faith is to be used to counteract these shafts. But mostly it seems to refer to those seasons of fiery trial that both Peter, James, and the Book of Job describe in great detail. Here are a couple of things to observe:
- You can notice that the shields are almost large enough to cover the entire body.
- You can notice that they were joined with other shields so as to provide an almost impregnable wall of defense. Behind the army of shields, there were the archers who would counteract with their arrows against the enemy.
The Bible says that "this is the victory that overcomes the world--even our faith." The shield of faith means everything that we believe about God, Christ, the Bible, life and death and its application particularly in the time of fiery assault. We are to always "have on" the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. This means that truth should go right to the bone of our life so it comes out instinctively during the little skirmishes of life. It means that we are to live from the imputed righteousness of Christ that actually creates a righteous and holy life. We should always know that we have peace with God through Jesus life, death and resurrection. These parts of the armor are to be strapped on at all times.
But then there are those seasons of life that bring special trial. We are suddenly laid off from a job. We have a serious set-back with our health. A loved one leaves us or dies. During that time we need to "take up" the shield of faith--faith in Christ and His promises, faith in the character of God that He is good and has good plans for us. The shields were almost as large as a door. It's a reminder that Jesus said he is the door to God, but also we could say he is the door of protection against all kinds of assaults. Moreover, it is not a solitary battle. We aren't to do it alone, but with one another as we create together an impregnable wall of defense against the enemy. This Sunday, we will also look at a case study of what it looks like in the life of one man under tremendous assault--namely Job.
Sunday is also the beginning of Advent. This Sunday we have the advent candle lighting as we begin the celebration of his birth. Bring your friends so they can explore what it means to have Christ in their life who is the ultimate shield against every attack!