SHIELD of FAITH (Ephesians 6:16) (Armor of God 8)
The equipment mentioned so far (helmet, breastplate, belt, sandals) form an inner wall of defense. There is an outer wall of defense as well – a large shield every Roman soldier carried. He would hold this in front of him for outer protection. Other soldiers would stand or walk alongside him as they all held up their shields forming a wall in front of them, sometimes above them as well. When enemies would throw balls of burning tar at the Romans this outer wall of defense would provide much-needed protection for they would be severely wounded or killed if the hot tar hit them. At least they would be out of the battle for quite some time.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Paul says this is like our faith – our outer wall of protection. Having faith in God’s sovereign control no matter what is happening is key to our spiritual health. The greater your faith the larger your shield, the smaller your faith the smaller your shield People with little faith get hit by whatever Satan throws at them: fear, guilt, greed, pride, anger, lust.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Satan attacks us through his demons even if don’t open the door through sin. He attacks everyone in God’s army, especially leaders like pastors and missionaries. They don’t have to have done anything to open a door – just standing with Jesus will draw attacks because Satan is committed to opposing God’s kingdom in any and every way he can. Satan can’t attack Jesus directly so he takes his hate and anger out on God’s children. That’s why the Jews have experienced such persecution through the years. While we were in Satan’s army, or even when we were neutral and ineffective for God, demons didn’t need to waste time and effort on us. But when we become committed to serving Jesus and building His Kingdom we find we have spiritual enemies sworn to do anything they can to destroy us. Sometimes these attacks are direct, other times they take a more indirect approach. Our marriage, finances, children or health may be attacked to discourage us and cause us to cease to actively participate in the cause of Christ. This is what happened to Job. These attacks can also take the form of opposition from other people. There may be a person who does what he can to make life difficult for you. Satan attacked Job because he was effective in his faith and Satan wanted to stop that. That seems to be the cause of Paul’s demonic ‘thorn in the flesh’ attack as well (2 Corinthians 12).
LESSON FOR TODAY: How can we tell what is a normal problem of the flesh or life in a fallen world from what is an attack of the enemy? If it brings a long, ongoing battle, and especially if you are having trouble having victory over it, you should seek for deeper causes. Or if it is a very new, very sudden attack that threatens to overwhelm and defeat you that can be a sign of demonic attack. If it is something large that comes from nowhere, like a gigantic wave that threatens to wash you away, then suspect spiritual causes as well.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Pray for a hedge of protection around yourself, your property and your family, as Job did (Job 1:45, 10-11). Turn to God’s Word for guidance: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” James 4:6-8. “All things work together for the good of those who love God” Romans 8:28. “There is no testing taken you but such as is common to man. God will not allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear, but with the testing will make a way of escape so you can bear it” I Corinthians 10:13).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Our defense against these attacks of Satan when sin isn’t involved is for us to 1) keep our faith strong, keep our eyes on Jesus only (Matthew 14:28-31). Also, 2) pray for His protection for you, your family and your church (Job 1:4-5).
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)