Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Versatility of Faith

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”  (Eph. 6:16)

         The shield was the most mobile component in the 1st Century soldier’s armor, and the only one that actually protected the other pieces given for protection. For instance, the girdle and breastplate (v. 14) could themselves be covered by the four by two foot piece of wood and tough leather of which the shield was made; and the head (v. 17) and feet (v. 15) could be protected simply by raising or lowering the same shield. The sword, of course, was wielded to fight off the enemy, but the shield could keep a soldier alive if he dropped his sword momentarily. All the pieces are important, but there is some reason why the apostle emphasizes the importance of the shield of faith by saying, “Above all…”

         The helmet of salvation, the knowledge of our relationship to God, our Creator, through the sacrifice of His Son, is our protection from the illogical thinking of this cursed world system, but logical reasoning begins with faith in God and not vice versa. (“Through faith we understand…” Heb. 11:3). And our heart and affections, covered by the breastplate of righteousness are dependent on our ability to not see and yet love (“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” 1Pet. 1:8). The word of truth (the girdle) is only effective, says Paul, in those who have faith, and believe.  (“…when ye received the word of God…ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1Thess. 2:13); and “the gospel of peace” that determines our steps, profits no one unless it is mixed with faith. (“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Heb. 4:2) See what I mean about how indispensible the shield was in battle, and how vital faith is to our Christian life?

         Faith works in virtually any situation; and in some cases, it’s the only thing that does. Praising God is good, but it’s faith that pleases Him (Heb. 11:6). The Sword of the Spirit can divide and discern (Heb.4:12), but faith can put out the fires of the wicked before they scorch the soul. It’s a mighty weapon and it should be used without fear or hesitation. When you’re talking about faith in God, it’s always the right move. Take the shield of faith and battle the forces of evil that threaten you and those you love.

Doubt sees the obstacles; faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night; faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step; faith soars on high.
Doubt questions, "Who believes?" 
Faith answers, "I!"

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