Shield of Faith 

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The first piece of armor we take up is the shield of faith.   The shield of faith quenches or extinguishes all of the fiery darts from the enemy.   Consider these scriptures that reference the shield of faith: shield-smallcross.jpg (5554 bytes)

"Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."   Ephesians 6:16 NKJV

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV

To best understand what "faith" means, let's consider these definitions:

1.  The Greek word for faith in the above verses is Pistis, which means:  "Conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it" (The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon for Strong's #4102)

2.  Hebrews 11:1 provides further insight on the meaning of faith:  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Putting these definitions together in practical terms, faith in God is:

In our human weakness, we may find it difficult to fully trust and believe God in the above ways.  Since God is the author, "perfecter" and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), we can and should ask him for the completion of our faith.   For example, Jesus told the man whose son had an evil spirit:

  "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"  25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."  Mark 9:23-25 NIV
 
Just as the father asked Jesus for help in overcoming unbelief, we too can ask Jesus to help us overcome our doubt.  As a result our shield of faith will operate at its maximum strength.

When we believe in something, our belief gives it power to manifest in our lives.  Jesus said, "Everything is possible for him who believes" (Mark 9:23 NIV).  Do you believe that?  We must take care that we are believing God's word and not the devil's lies.  If we believe the devil's lies, we're putting faith into them and opening a door for the devil to influence us.  This is "negative faith," and irony of it is that we give it power through our own belief in the lies.

Our faith must be based on the truth of the word of God.  Any other source is not reliable nor trustworthy.  The devil's primary tactic against our faith is to persuade us to believe lies so that our faith is not founded on truth.  Once we believe lies, our shield of faith is basically deactivated, giving the enemy access to us.  

As a former Star Trek fan, I love the analogy of a starship's electromagnetic shield and our faith.  When the starship's shields were at 100%, the enemy torpedoes were unable to damage the ship.  If the ship lost power, the shields failed and the torpedoes were free to wreak havoc on the disabled ship.  When we start believing lies, our shield's power source is damaged, allowing the enemy's fiery darts to hit us.  

The devil often entices people into sexual sin with the lie that God's plan for sex isn't sufficient and/or isn't worth the wait for marriage.  He offers attractive counterfeits through prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, chat rooms, phone sex, fornication, masturbation, etc. in attempt to persuade us to make our own sexual provision instead of trusting God for it.  This "shift of faith" away from God weakens our shield of faith.  As a result, we open ourselves up for further deception and destruction from the enemy.  

How the shield quenches the fiery darts:  Here is a possible explanation:  The fiery darts (i.e. temptations) seek to inflame our sinful desires (lust of flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life) by stirring up our thoughts of fulfilling those desires.  If our faith is operating effectively, the enemy's temptations will not be able to inflame sinful desires in us, because we don't believe the lies behind them.  

Actions to put up an effective shield: There are several things we can do to ensure that the proper operation of our shield of faith.  They hinge upon the principle that we believe God and therefore speak what we believe (2 Corinthians 4:13-14).  Our spoken words of faith set the shield into place.  

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