“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, ESV)
Being a Type 2 diabetic brings with it daily challenges. Trying to eat the right foods … testing your blood sugars frequently … getting the proper exercise… and developing an “I can do this” attitude … all necessary to successful maintenance and optimum health!
Unfortunately, “I can do this” bends over and “I don’t know how I’m going to do this” moves in or even worse, we just get lazy, complacent … whatever word you want to fill in the blank with. The result is always the same!
We eat what we shouldn’t … we don’t eat what we should … we don’t get the needed exercise … and quite frankly … a diabetic can simply get discouraged with the whole process! GUILTY!
I have fought each of these battles over and over again! And each time by encouragement from those I love … from my own self-talks … and from a deep desire to just feel better about life, myself, and living … I renew my efforts and I get busy doing what I’m supposed to be doing!
Can you identify with this ongoing struggle? The lifetime commitment of becoming a Christian is not just a beginning place where we see the ways of God … it means continuing in those ways as long as our lives exist!
Time and again God’s people throughout biblical history found themselves in a battle situation! The term “war” used so frequently in God’s Book is not a friendly word and in fact in our time there are many who resent the use of the word at all. They find it repulsive, inappropriate and offensive!
Like it or not … God’s people are at war! Our God who knows all, and can do all, has always provided through the ages for those who chose to be “called by His name” to have everything at their disposal to not only go to war … but to be victorious!
It is not different for us living in the 21st century! This is our time to do battle! This is our time to be at war with the forces of evil! This is our time to as the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Our enemy along with all of his minions is staying very busy … working on God’s people from every vantage point … and with only one purpose in mind … to destroy our souls!
In the context of Ephesians 6:10-18, the other pieces of the Christian’s armor are pieces that we “put on” and pieces that “we wear!” For example, we are admonished to “put on the belt, the breastplate, and even the shoes” … but the shield … that’s something different.
You see, my friends, the “shield of faith” is something we must “take up” … it is something that to be victorious we must “raise up” because just holding on to it … just strapping in on to an arm will not accomplish its intended purpose. We are to hold it up and shield and protect ourselves from “the fiery darts of the devil.”
I am led in humility to admit there are times in my life as a soldier in His army that the trusted “shield of faith” has been dropped down by my side and at times, even dropped to the battleground itself!
How? How does this happen? Am I the only soldier to be guilty of such weakness? I do not propose to speak for everyone else, but I do know the Bible teaches with great clarity that we all sin (Romans 3:23) … that we all can find ourselves discouraged … even weary of the battle!
Yes, ‘sometimes we are battle-weary and we do forget to use our shield!’ And when we do forget to hold up our “shield of faith” then the arrows … they will pierce our armor causing us to stumble in the field of battle.’ The fact is … a shield just won’t do the soldier much good just hanging by our side or laying on the ground!
Times we put our shields down by our sides or even on the ground:
- When we’ve been wounded by one of Satan’s arrows!
- When we’ve been enticed to think wrong thoughts!
- When we indulge in things we shouldn’t and we know it!
- When we allow ourselves to act on those wrong thoughts!
- When we get discouraged.
- When we get distracted from what we’re supposed to be doing!
- When we are dissatisfied with life and its offerings that we already possess!
- When we see those we have confidence in … fall in the heat of battle!
- When we see those we love, lay their armor down and just walk into the enemies’ camp!
- We must all be careful not to be “discouragers of men/others!”
Casualties are a part of war! Always! Some of those casualties are nursed and treated back to a place of active service. But others are added to the casualty list … and they do not recover from their wounds!
We can help to ensure that we don’t fall into that number by taking up the “shield of faith” before us in every circumstance … if we want to stay spiritually alive!
Vigilance is required … persistence is needed … humility without a doubt … and the recognition of just how vulnerable each of us are to the enemy’s attacks!
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1Timothy 6:12, ESV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.