Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Note From Pastor Al - Shield of Faith

Pastor’s Note

Ephesians 6:15 take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.

Anyone feel like they are in a battle? Do you ever feel like that battle is rather lengthy - maybe fighting for years on end? The apostle Paul encourages us with the truth that we are in a lifelong battle against the forces of Satan. We are being attacked daily if not even by the minute.

Ephesians 6:15 encourages us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”

Who is the evil one? What are his arrows? And what is the shield of faith? How is it that we take up this shield?

Who is this spiritual evil?
The evil one is your enemy. You see this in the illustration because Paul is talking about battle armor. There is a battle and you have an enemy. This means that your whole life whether or not you know you are in a battle, you are in a battle. And your faith is being constantly attacked by this enemy. Who is it?

The enemy is Satan. But he does not [often] come out and display himself as the enemy. He’s hidden, he’s subversive, he’s duplicitous, he takes on many disguises including friend and counselor. But he is never a friend. And he is never a good counselor.

We see his scheming with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He creates a deceptive web disguised as friendship. This extremely intelligent being feigns interest in these two children of God. He pokes at God’s generosity and providential garden. His scheming sounds like this, ”Why does God prohibit you from having that one thing? Why does he keep this from you? Wouldn’t you be more complete if this was yours?” All this was used to make a pretense that he actually cared about Adam and Eve.  

This enemy will also appear as your friend and counselor, your compatriot and ally, until just the right time when he can pounce to devour,  steal, kill and destroy. Why?Because he’s your enemy and this is a war.

What are his arrows?
In this war, what are the arrows of the evil one? How does he attack your faith? He attacks us with deception and drives us to believe things to be true that are not true. Satan is biblically known to be a liar.

He shoots flaming darts of doubt which cause us to question God’s promises and God’s holy and good character. Satan loves to build doubt out of small seeds planted in our thinking.

Satan lures us toward disappointment when we put more weight on human performance than on God’s perfect record and find that we can’t always trust humanity. This happens when significant leaders fall under moral pressures. 

Our evil enemy is also a master of diversion. This happens when a godly focus on the right things gets sidetracked toward what is, on the surface, a seemingly good thing but it takes us away from the right things. Some would point to the degrading of the nuclear family by a system that promotes single parent families over biblically sound families.

Defeat is another tactic by the evil one. He wants you to think that you are defeated. He often pushes this notion when you have failed at a certain task or fallen prey to temptation. He wants you to identify with your failure instead of remembering that you are a child of God.

It Satan can’t prevent you from doing the right thing, he may seek to delay a project or put off a kingdom endeavor. If he can delay you long enough, then defeat may also prevent you from acting appropriately.

Division is a scheme that Satan is using with ferocity today. If he can divide a nation into this side and that. If he can create tension or extreme animosity between people groups, he is winning a battle. It’s no wonder Jesus prayed that we may be one or unified instead of divided. Creating human divisions, especially ones that come with anger and hatred and fear, are part of his arsenal and strategy.

What is the Shield of Faith?
The shield of faith is a shield based on trust in God’s promises, God’s forgiveness, God’s directions, God’s family and church structure, God’s purposes for humanity and ultimately on God’s desire for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Do we trust what God says or do we form our own path in life? Do we live by faith or do we live by what the crowd is saying? Do we trust God or do we put more trust in science, current trends, marketing schemes, popular appeal? The shield of faith calls us to trust and to know what God says about the family, the church, the future, the kingdom, the human heart and so much more. Do we trust?

When we trust what God says, then we are putting out the flaming arrows of the evil one. May God lead us to trust him more and more. We trust him for salvation, why wouldn’t we put our trust in him with finances, with serving others, with making disciples? Take up the shield of faith.

Blessings to you all.

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