by Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:13-16 NIV
Do you feel as if your faith is faltering? To be honest, sometimes I do. I look at the uncertainties and tragedies in our world and I wonder if things will ever get better. Then I look at my own circumstances and feel impatient that some of my most-spoken prayers haven’t been answered…at least not in the way I hoped.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul urges the church at Ephesus to recognize that our spiritual life is a battle, and we have been given weapons which protect us and help us defeat our enemy, the devil. One of those weapons is a shield–but it will only help us if we use it (“take it up”). In other words, we need to be aware of Satan’s lies–pictured as fiery darts– (such as “things will always be this way” or “God doesn’t really care about me”), so we can defend ourselves with God’s truth.
The Greek word Paul used for shield is thureos, from a root word that means door or gate. During the days of the early Church, a Roman soldier’s shield was an oblong as large as a door; it completely covered the person wielding them. How awesome is that?! Our spiritual shield is not some dinky little facsimile, either. We believe in a God who is far bigger than anything the enemy can hurl at us. We can trust He can overcome any circumstance we will ever face.
And get this: Roman soldiers’ shields were woven from leather strips. Every morning, they oiled their shield. If it wasn’t oiled, the strips on the shield would become brittle and thus vulnerable to an opponent’s spear.
What a terrific metaphor! As believers, we need to daily oil our shield of faith by reading and studying the Word of God. As we do, we learn more about Him. The better we know Him, the more we can trust Him. And that’s what faith is: the ability to trust in God.
One final nugget of truth: Roman soldiers would kneel down and link their shields to make their front line impenetrable to enemies. As believers, we too can link our shields by encouraging each other’s faith, and in this way work together to fight our enemy. Aren’t you thankful that even in 2020, with its social distancing challenges, we can have community with one another by phone, text, email, Zoom or Skype calls, social media)? I sure am.
Today, let’s encourage ourselves and each other by meditating on God’s promises and meeting together in whatever ways we are able. We are meant to go into battle together.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I don’t seek your word and truth. Help me to “oil” my shield of faith daily by studying and trusting in Your word. Give me faith that moves mountains and causes the enemy to flee. Thank you for the spiritual armor you provide. Amen.
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Dena Dyer is the author or co-author of ten books for women and hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and websites. She lives in Texas with Carey and their sons Jordan and Jackson. She loves bargain shopping, decorating, and traveling. Find Dena on Instagram and Facebook, or at her website.
Dena and Carey’s book, Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples (Barbour) will give your marriage encouragement and hope when you find that the once endearing, charming, and distinct qualities that once attracted you to your spouse are now a source of stress and conflict.
Join the conversation: What do you do to increase your faith?