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Seeds of the Kingdom

Armour of God – Shield of Faith

by Philip Asselin

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes … Stand firm then, … take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:10-16, NIV

Last time I looked at the ‘shoes of peace’, and now I want to look at the fourth element in the spiritual armour of God, the ‘shield of faith’. For a Roman soldier, a shield was used as a vital form of protection. It was worn strapped to his arm and could be held up to deflect attacks. The Roman shield was called a scutum. We tend to think of a shield as a large circular metal disk, but this type of shield was as large as a door and would protect the soldier completely. Such a shield was not just defensive, but could also be used to shove opponents out of the way. When fighting as a group, a phalanx of soldiers could position their shields to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (tortoise). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. The shield was often made of wood and then covered in hide and, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows.

What does it mean to have faith, and how can this be related to a shield? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ Faith is much more than feelings, which can fluctuate depending on how things are going for us at any particular moment. To have faith is to believe God created the world and sent His only Son to die for our sins so we might have eternal life. Having faith in Christ should influence the way we live.

Our faith can protect us during trials in the same way a shield would during battle. As an example, when doubts and fear start to creep in and our beliefs are called into question, our faith in Christ will protect us. We can stand firm in knowing what we believe to be true. Our faith in Christ can also protect us when we experience anxiety and fear. Isaiah 41:10 says, ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.’

 If we have faith in God’s promises, we really do not need to fear. It is important to realise that doubt, fear, and anxiety are the flaming arrows of the enemy that he hurls against us. Instead of turning away and living in constant fear of what may happen to us and our loved ones, taking up the shield of faith will protect us and allow us to fight back against these attacks. Holding up our shield of faith extinguishes those arrows and makes them ineffective. It helps us push back his lies. And, as the body of Christ, we can help each other to grow stronger in our faith by supporting each other and interlinking our shields in prayer to protect individuals, groups, our church and the nation.

Before we can fully put on the shield of faith, we need to take off anything else that we rely on for protection. What or who are we trusting in rather than Christ? Much of the focus of our world today is centred towards self, focussing on what makes us happy, proud, and at peace, instead of God’s word. Or it might be trusting in certain influential people rather than Christ. That’s like holding up a large piece of cardboard and wondering why the enemy’s fiery arrows get through it. There’s no other shield to truly protect us in the spiritual battles we face than God’s own shield of faith.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor. He and his wife Gillian attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown up children, one grandson, and a step-granddaughter in California, and a daughter and granddaughter in Eastbourne. His desire is to see people healed and set free to serve God.


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