“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Ephesians 6:14-16)
What is the Shield of Faith?
I think we all know what a shield is, so I’ll keep this definition brief. A shield, according to Merriam-Webster is “a large piece of metal, wood, etc., carried by someone (such as a solider or police officer) for protection; something that defends or protects someone or something.” It’s always carried in front of the body as a defense against oncoming weapons.
Merriam-Webster defines faith as “strong belief or trust in something or someone.” But I don’t think the definition stops there; the true definition is much stronger. Hebrews 11:1-2 says that faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is both substance and evidence, therefore it isn’t blind. Synonymns: confidence, trust, belief, conviction, acceptance, hope, loyalty.
The rest of this chapter, as I mentioned in my last post, lists what various people of the Bible did by faith and that they will receive a reward. The entire Bible story is filled with smaller stories of people who trusted in God, and with their big faith, they pleased God and were able to find salvation.
Faith is often best defined and demonstrated through examples from God’s people. One of my favorite stories is found in the Old Testament, in Genesis 22. In this story, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac (this would serve as a test). God told Abraham where and how to offer up Isaac, and Abraham was fully prepared to do so. Although I imagine he was deeply grieved, he trusted God, and prepared the offering, telling Isaac, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” When they got to the place God told Abraham to offer Isaac, he bound Isaac, laid him on the table for an offering, and was about to kill him…
…then the Angel of the Lord said, “Abraham, Abraham!” Abraham simply said, “Here I am.” Then the Angel told him not to harm his son, “for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” As Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns that he was to offer instead of his son. In the rest of the story, the Angel of the Lord talks to Abraham again, telling him that because he didn’t withhold his only son, he will be blessed with an abundance of multiplying descendants who would possess the gate of his enemies; all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed.
Because Abraham had faith:
- The Lord provided
- Abraham was blessed
- The nations were blessed
- His descendents were protected
This is what faith does. It’s how faith worked in the Old Testament, how faith works in the New Testament, and how it works for us. We might not receive the same physical blessings that Abraham received — but because of our faith (and then obedience) we will be rewarded in eternity because faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Faith protects and helps us stay strong in the Lord. It helps us see what we can’t see now, and it shows others Christ through us. So, the shield of faith is a key part of our spiritual armor. We can’t fight without it; we may have truth, righteousness, and the gospel, but we can do nothing without faith in God and these other articles.
Why do we need it?
1 | To defend ourselves against Satan
As verse 16 says, we need the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. We need faith in order to defend ourselves from evil! Think about it: if we don’t have faith in God, the truth, righteousness, and especially the gospel, there’s no point in having them to begin with. Having total faith in God means having zero faith in Satan. There’s nothing he hates more than people trusting in God, not listening to him — we can beat Satan by putting our faith in only God.
2 | To please God
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Hi.” -Hebrews 11:6
If Abraham had given up and told God that he refused to sacrifice his only son, he would have failed the test and disappointed God. I don’t know what would have happened, but I do know that God wouldn’t have been pleased with him. The reason Abraham was blessed was because he had great faith. He had a faith that most of us stand in awe of. If we expect to be pleasing to God, we must put complete trust in Him, knowing that our faith is the evidence of things we can’t see in this life.
3 | To keep us on the narrow way
Faith can help us stay on the straight and narrow — it’s the most important aspect of our armor because of this (the verse says “above all, taking the shield of faith…”). Through faith we are able to stay focused on the goal because we can “see” what’s at the end!
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
If we live our lives in Christ by faith, I think we’ll be more serious about following in His footsteps and obeying His Father on the only path that will get us to heaven.
4 | To hold us up when we’re down
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Some versions say “hope in” where the NKJV says “wait on.” If we’re hoping in and waiting on the Lord, we are putting our faith in Him. We have faith in God and His promises. And if we have faith in God and His promises, we’re going to be stronger in the Lord, which is the greatest strength we could ever want. This is why Christians are able to have faith when others give up — we know that there are more and better things waiting for us if we only trust in Him.
How do we use it?
One of the best ways to defend ourselves against the devil and please God is to put our faith into action. If we have faith, we must also act on it (James 2:14-26).
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (v.26)
1 | Tell others about it
We can demonstrate our faith by telling others why and in whom we have faith. If we’re telling others about it, we must have big faith! (It takes faith to spread faith — a confusing, yet simple truth. Everything relies on our faith in God.) Romans 1:12 says we can be encouraged by others’ faith, which means that others can also be encouraged by ours. Sharing our faith with others is a selfless act of love because it shows that we care about their souls as much as our own.
2 | Pray more fervently
Praying is one of the biggest ways we put our shield of faith to use. Praying to God requires faith because we can’t see God sitting across the table or room from us, but we know He’s listening.
1 John 5:14
“Now this is the confidence [faith] that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
3 | Study more diligently
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” -Romans 10:17
Our trust in God will show when we read our Bibles diligently — because having faith in God also means having faith in His word. We can learn more about faith and what it does for us by doing this, as well!
My faith is always strongest when I’m relying on God and His word for my standard, comfort, and hope.
4 | Obey God in all things
In 1 Peter 1, Paul talks about the sufferings, salvation, and glories of Christ, and he says, “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (v.9). And after this conversation, he says to obey God and be holy (set apart in Christ)!
1 Peter 1:13-16
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Faith and obedience walk hand-in-hand. Faith in God requires that we heed what He says, obey His commands, and make the necessary sacrifices to please Him. If we don’t make an effort to obey Him, we don’t truly have faith in His promises.
This is part four of my 6-part Armor of God series. I’ll post one installment each week, with the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer combined (it should wrap up after Thanksgiving).
Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.