THE SHIELD OF FAITH
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)
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
Disciples of Jesus Christ are given a protective defense shield from God to hinder Satan's incoming warheads (scripture refers to them as 'fiery darts'). The Bible calls this protective shield, 'Our shield of faith.' God gives us this weapon, but we must learn how to use it as effectively as possible to receive maximized benefit from it.
Some believers may only be yielding a defense shield equivalent to the size of a penny, though they may not realize it. More seasoned warriors may have grown in maturity and wisdom to where they are completely surrounded by this defense shield, most of the time. How big one's faith shield is at any given moment of time may not be as important as understanding the importance of having a faith shield in the first place.
What does Satan do to try to get through this defense shield? He tries to get us to believe lies to one degree or another. The more lies the devil can get a person to believe, the more difficult it is for that person to perceive truth, even when it's smack dab in front of their face. The less one perceives truth, the less one receives truth. The less one receives truth, the less one obeys truth, let alone uses truth as an effective weapon from God against demonic strategies launched against them.
Ponder for a moment what God is communicating in this portion of scripture found in 1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Would you agree from this portion of scripture that our faith is very, very important? 'Ahhh, but faith in who? Faith in what?' you might ask. These are two extremely important questions that deserve answers to. They both are answered with one Word: We are to have faith in truth.
Truth is fact from God's perspective, but much more than just fact. Truth is a person. The Bible makes this claim: 'I am the way, the truth, and the light.' (John 14:6). Jesus Christ said He is truth. What is the difference between speaking truth and being truth. When you ARE truth, the only thing that comes out of your mouth, or actions, or both, is truth.
Anything that opposes truth is a lie. Anything that contradicts truth in any way is a lie. Jesus states in scripture that Satan is the father of lies. Lying isn't just one of the evil attributes of Satan: Satan is lying. As Jesus is truth, Satan is lying. Satan is lying personified.
'Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and father of it. (John 8:43-44 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit also is truth.
'I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.'
The Holy Bible, God's written Word, is truth.
'Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.' (John 17:17-18)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
For there are three who bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
God cannot be anything other than the truth. Mud cannot be the sky, and the moon cannot be the sun. A tree cannot be a cow, nor can a computer be a t-bone steak. Similarly, The Word of God cannot be anything other than what it truly is: truth.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:23)
Satan knowing these scriptures, does everything in his power to try to keep us convinced that the Word of God is not truth. Put a nuclear warhead in one corner of the ring and a firecracker in the other corner. If Satan can convince you the firecracker is the most lethal of the two weapons, you are little threat to him. If he can convince you that neither the nuclear warhead or the firecracker are weapons period, you're absolutely no threat to him, at least at the moment.
Even more sobering, you have no defense shield up! Every gate into your palace is open wide and unguarded. The devil's forces can walk right in and have anything they want, and don't even have to fight for it. Only by the grace of God will you be protected from demonic attacks.
Satan's number one priority is to keep the human race in spiritual blindness. His primary means of doing so is to give people reasons not to read or hear the New Testament Bible, but if they do ... firstly, not believe it; secondly, not to obey it.
Maybe you haven't heard it said this way: The New Testament is God's 'spiritual contract with all of humanity.' The Old Testament was God's 'spiritual contract for the Jews', but not for the Gentiles, or the rest of humanity. Prior to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, non-Jews had no official 'written contract' from God. The Old Testament law was not given to the Gentiles, it was given solely to the Jewish people.
Was there anything wrong with non-Jewish people trying to obey the Old Testament? Not at all. Most everything God had to say in the Old Testament to the Jews would have benefited non-Jews greatly, but if the Jews did so poorly at obeying the Old Testament book of the law, how in the world would non-Jews have been able to do any better, without the help of God? The Jews received all the help from God that a mere human was capable of receiving from God, yet disobedience to God was always the end result for most of the Jewish leaders. Not all Jewish leaders, most, however.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gave every person on this planet the legal right to be connected to God in a way that was far superior to the Old Testament way of being connected to God. This way is through faith. Faith in what? Faith in God's written 'spiritual contract' with the human race to both Jews and non-Jews, and faith in the Person known as The Word.
Satan hates the written Word of God and the Word person of God, as do all the fallen angels, and especially hates those who put their faith in it and Him. Satan was so threatened by God that he immediately went about introducing sin into the world. He knew that if he could entice Eve and Adam to sin against God, the human race might never be able to manifest The Word of God in human form.
It appeared that Satan almost succeeded when God chose to flood the earth and destroy the human race, admitting to Himself that he was sorry for ever creating it in the first place. Yet there was faithful Noah and the few family members that survived the flood, to keep the human race going.
Many years later, Satan was notified that The Word of God may be ready to manifest in the form of a human being, and so he used King Herod to kill all the male children (See: Matthew Chapter 2), hoping baby Jesus the Messiah would then be eliminated. Jesus survived.
Satan sought to constantly tempt Jesus to sin, but never could get Jesus to sin. Rage evidently overruled wisdom, and Satan finally was given the ability to kill Jesus on the cross, hoping this would solve his problem. Not only did Jesus survive by rising from the dead, but it literally became Satan's very undoing, because soon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ in bodily form - once Jesus went back up into heaven to be with the Father - the Holy Spirit was poured out on disciples of Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ was now spreading out across all the earth, and continues to do so until this very day.
Satan has been on the defensive every since, trying to stop Jesus Christ from having greater influence across the planet, yet painfully realizing that as each day passes, his time for execution of judgment that has already be pronounced, grows shorter and shorter.
Satan is a judged foe. All fallen angels are also judged foes. Full execution of their judgment is set by the Creator, in His timing.
Satan and his demon helpers want you ignorant of The Word of God. They will do everything in their power to keep you from reading or hearing The Word of God. If they cannot keep you from reading or hearing The Word of God, they will do everything in their power to keep you from believing The Word of God. If they can't effectively hinder you from believing The Word of God, they will do everything in their power to confuse you in what The Word of God means, so you cannot yield it as a lethal sword against evil, and apply it as a daily defense shield (as well as an offensive weapon against evil).
But if they can't stop you from yielding it as an effective sword, the sword of the Spirit, (that's what God calls it), then they will do everything they can to let The Word of God be a sword to stab other Christian believers with, or as a means to fill one's temple with pride.
Satan knows he cannot remove The Word of God off the face of this planet though it doesn't stop him from constantly, persistently trying.
In the meantime, Satan doesn't care that much if you read The Word of God. What threatens him greatly is if you diligently seek to understand it. What threatens him even more is your eagerness to obey it. What sends him into absolute rage is if you try to help others understand and obey it as well! Now you become a major, major threat to him.
Remember something, however. It is the Spirit of God who brings alive (gives illumination and revelation) and releases the power of God as is needed. Trying to effect The Word of God without The Spirit of God's help is futile, and an insult to God the Father. One is not operating under the influence of The Spirit of God if they have not purposed to be serious disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for their sins.
There appears to be a growing deceptive teaching in Christianity that if a person constantly speaks the Word of God, God is obligated to back up the intentions of the one doing the speaking. God honors His Word, make no mistake. But, God doesn't honor it if the Holy Spirit discerns that we are trying to use the Word of God for selfish and/or prideful reasons. We must always keep this as our continuous tutor and guide in believing and executing The Word of God:
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:6)
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor. 3:5-6)
Meaning what? Meaning that if my interpretation of The Word of God is different than yours, I'm not to try to beat you over the head with my interpretation and get all upset if you refuse to believe my interpretation of a given passage or thought.
God's Word is Truth. However, God has never obligated Himself in His Word that He's going to give any mere mortal full, 100% revelation (full understanding, in other words) of His Truth this side of eternity. He has obligated Himself to lead us into Truth, just not give any single individual full revelation of all Truth. Rather, he does that through the Body of Christ, through many different individuals. That eliminates the pride issue God has always had to contend with in fallen man.
God's Word is both a defensive weapon and an offensive weapon. Statements of fact made by The Word Himself, such as: 'If you can believe, all things are possible,' (See: Mark 9:23) and, 'With God, all things are possible.' (See: Mark 10:27; Matt. 19:26), make the devil quiver in fear when he finds disciples of Jesus Christ appropriating either of these two promises, or both of them. Faith in God and faith in God's Word can effect the impossible, (as the Holy Spirit imparts the necessary direction and faith in accordance with the Father's will) and the devil knows it!
Here is what the devil does not wanting us believing about God's Word: Believing God makes all things possible that God wills to happen in our life, (or in the life of another) if we persistently continue believing. Believing God's Word makes all things possible that God wills to happen in our life, if we persistently continue believing, and it is truly the Holy Spirit behind our persistent believing and not just our personal desire doing the motivating.
Maybe you've heard this before - maybe not: "Faith in God makes all things possible -- though not always easy." Why is it so difficult to believe God for seemingly "impossible" things? Because Christians have a great opponent in the fighting ring, constantly seeking to keep them defeated in their faith. Who is this opponent? His name is Satan. God clearly states that mountains standing in our way can be removed (See: Mark 11:22-24). Satan begs to differ ... relentlessly.
Here is what the devil does want us to believe about God's Word: It can't be trusted; it can't be understood; it contradicts itself; it leads one into emotional and spiritual bondage; it is the biggest threat to world peace, harmony and economic prosperity this world has ever known.
Another area Satan relentlessly hammers our thought life is in the arena of "It must not be God's will - wouldn't you agree?" If Satan can con us into believing a given thing in not God's will, when in fact it may very well be God's will, we'll surrender our faith to Satan and the fight is over for us. Be EXTREMELY wise in seeking God's will when you enter into the fighting ring with Satan. The more confident you are in knowing God's will in every situation you're dealing with ... the more equipped you will be in pressing through until your mountain gets removed by God.
What you and I believe frees God to release his power and protection and blessing as it is needed to fit our situation. If there is any question about what God has to say about a given matter, God's Word is the first and final authority. God's Word supersedes all circumstances and situations and feelings that appear contrary to the Word of God.
For instance, if I am being bombarded with lies that God does not love me, I must go to the Word of God and remind myself of the promises God has given me about His unconditional love for me. I will do well not only to speak them to myself, but out loud confidently, reminding the lying devils that I refuse to put up with their lying. This is known as actively resisting the devil, which God promises will cause the devil to flee from us, as we persist in letting God's Word be the first and final authority on this matter of God's unconditional love for me.
Another common attack of the devil is try to convince us in weak moments that 'God has left you ' God has forsaken you, hasn't he?' When that happens, we must go to scriptures like Hebrews 13:5-6 and Proverbs 3:5-6 and read them, and keep re-reading them until the Holy Spirit breaks through the barrage of lies the devil has erected around our mind, and our confidence in God returns.
Saturate your mind frequently with the Word of God. Memorize it.Post it around your house and in your car. Listen to it on the radio and on television. There is spiritual life in God's Word, because God makes certain of it. God makes certain that there is sufficient power released to accomplish whatever it is He desires for His Word to accomplish.
Just how much power does God release to back up His Word? Here is what He had to say about His words in Matthew 24:35: 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.'
Putting our faith to the revealed words of Jesus Christ has the full backing of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and the angels that do their bidding. Putting our faith to The Word of God when accurately applied to our situation will cause heaven and hell to step aside if necessary, because God honors His Word when persistence faith is applied to it and when it's not used out of context. The key is to accurately apply it to our situation. Applying it out of context is what the devil delights in us doing, because that causes us to not be so quick to apply it again, and it causes skeptics to doubt all the more that the Bible can be trusted.
The Word of God is a mighty weapon. Make sure that when you use this weapon, you are pointing it at the enemy, not looking down the barrel with the safety off. That's what the devil wants to always do, saints, once you know the power of God's Word. He wants you to turn your weapon on yourself and turn you into a causality, instead of allowing you to be a fearless warrior for Jesus.
He delights when you use it to inflict wounds on fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and better yet, use it to commit slow suicide on yourself. That's perfectly great, just as long as you do not use it effectively as the mighty weapon it is, against him.
To learn about the other weapons of our warfare, click on the ones below you are interested in knowing more about:
7) Shield of faith
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