The SHIELD of FAITH
The word for "shield" is "thureos." It referred to the Roman shield that was 2 foot by 4 foot. These shields were usually made of wood that was covered with a metal cover. They were heavy and bulky, but the soldiers moved slowly ahead with them, safe from the attacks of the fiery arrows of the enemy. These shields were often used by gathering a group of soldiers about in a circle. When the shield were held in front of them, it made a hedge like protection. Several other soldiers in the center of the circle could hold their shields overhead and give a turtle like shell of protection. When the arrows of the enemy came down upon them, this circle of shields easily protected them. Satan is always firing darts at us. We need "faith" to block his darts. When the attack is especially heavy, we need to gather together with others of faith, and stand against his attack together.
This is the protection that God has provided. We need to be aware of how it is to be used. It is freely given of God to all of us. None of us are exempt of the battle, so God made these defensive weapons available to all of us.
The shield of faith comes to us at salvation. Using it, is learned. Yet, when we accept the Lord, we are made into ‘new creations’. As a new creation, we have all the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law .
Those were in me, in you, in all of the saved. Yet, what has happened? Why do we not know how to use the shield of faith, when we need it? Why do some Christians have no ‘joy’, little ‘love’, fleeting ‘peace’, and fears that indicate the shield of faith is not being utilized? We are supposed to have the shield of faith.
The devil assaults Christians. His attacks are merciless. Other times, he is sly and cunningly slips in attacks. Yet, all these attacks are assaults on our spirits, on our bodies, on our persons.
The television programs glorify selfishness, lusts, greed, avarice, and perversions. We walk through a shopping mall, and hear words that assault our spirit. We see attitudes in the neighborhood which shake our faith, our temperance. We are confronted by the angry, by the ones upset in life, and our meekness and longsuffering are assaulted. The curse upon this world assures that weather chaos, job insecurity, personality conflicts, physical weaknesses, etc cause us to feel assaulted, and battered.
The assaults upon mankind are against our bodies, our souls, and our spirits.
The food we eat has been genetically changed and who knows what we eat. Society demands prepared, processed foods for ease of meal preparation. Yet, the processing removes the necessary vitamins, nutrients. Society demands lessen our sleep and our rest is not sufficient. Our modern conveniences make exercise to be optional. The body is assaulted by non-nutrient food, insufficient rest, insufficient exercise. The pills mankind has devised to counter those, are full of side effects, requiring more pills with more side effects. The assaults against our bodies are all encouraged by the devil, and seldom fought by the Christians.
The assaults against our soul involves the pornographic world that has filled the magazines, the television programs, the bill boards, the theaters, and the most every venue out there. The soul is also attacked by the language, the vocabulary of the society. The words include blasphemy, cursing, insults, vile humor, insults, and anger. The words fill our ears, pass through our mind. Even when disdained, the words have become so common, our minds are tainted by them. The soul is flooded with the news events reported on television, internet, and in newsprint. The violence, vile and evil actions of man against man, fill the news.
The assaults against our spirit are ‘other gods’ that try to take place of real Lord and Savior. Sports, athletics, education, money, power, fame, in all their forms, are vying for the number one position in your life. Jesus wants and demands to be our only "Lord" in our lives, but other things, many are socially and politically correct, seek to be our lord.
The assaults come daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, to all of us. We wonder why the Lord is not as real to us, we wonder why we have physical and spiritual trials. The assaults need identified, and fought. The shield of faith needs to be utilized.
Instead, many come to times of fear and loss of control. There is sometimes not even time to figure out what is happening. We may panic, we may lose focus of what is important. We can grow cold and calloused, we can feel physical and mental changes in our person. Yet, we are saved, but still assaulted. In some ways we are helpless, we cannot leave this world yet. The assaults are going to continue till we meet Jesus in heaven.
The curse upon this world, the oppression by devils, the weakness of our flesh all bring assaults on the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. that we had the moment of salvation. We need to have faith utilized to cleanse out the assault damages. These are not random events, but a daily confrontation, impossible to totally avoid. If we don’t want to live a Christian life that is missing much love and joy, we need to face these troublesome ravishments of our spirit.
When facing the assaults of the devil, our heart rate may quicken, our blood pressure may rise, our throat may choke, and our hands and feet may tingle. The assaults on our spirit are no laughing matter. We may feel like we are unsaved, or we may feel this is really what the Christian life is. Both those are incorrect. God wants us to be ‘more than conquerors through Christ.’ The Lord wants us to have ‘life abundantly’. We are told to ‘walk in the Spirit’. It is time we get a handle on the kind of daily healing we need to face the ‘facts’ of life on a cursed world.
The devil would like to make us feel as though we are helpless, and that impending trouble and its resulting effect on the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is inevitable. The assault may be inevitable, the loss of joy, peace, love, etc is not inevitable. We do not need to awaken every morning in a state of fear and stress. We need to awaken, lift up our shield of faith, and stand strong in the Lord.
Some Christians have resorted to prescription drugs and alcohol to settle their stress. That adds another assault to our lives. Emotions get out of control, with anger, depression, stress, panic attacks, and sullenness to be where joy in the Lord should be. Some, if not most, begin to live a worldly life, feeling the joy they thought they would have when becoming a Christian. Drugs and alcohol never help. In fact, they are a big part of the devil’s plan for his assault on us.
Worldliness is conformity to the world. Conformity begins in the mind and heart. Trying to fit in, with the world is wrong. Trying to avoid the assaults of the devil by joining in the worldly ways he promotes is worldliness. Trying to avoid the assaults of the devil, by joining the world’s ways, is not the answer. The worldliness the devil pushes us toward is an assault that affects our relationship with God.
We are Christians. We are different. We are not citizens of this world anymore. We are sojourners here, waiting for our Father to call us home to heaven. So why should we be so anxious to be just like the world. They should notice a difference in us. Our whole life should reflect Jesus. We should not watch the lustful movies, speak the curse words heard from others, think the angry and selfish ways the world does. Anything that separates us from Jesus’ presence is an assault.
"Be not conformed to the world..."
Some want to be a little like the world, and a little like the Lord. They try to be on both sides. Their escape from the assaults of the devil, is to join his ranks, allow sin to be a normal in their lives. They let worldliness be their way of life.
The awful truth, that new converts must be forewarned, is that in churches there are some who make a profession of Christianity who no longer, or who never did, have a real relationship with Jesus. Some never break from the worldliness, and never lift up the shield of faith in defending our salvation from the devils attacks.
Some maintain the outward profession. Some attend faithfully. Some hold high positions in the church. Some have much Bible knowledge. Somewhere in their Christian life, they lost the real relationship with Jesus. The actions of these persons are often an assault. Christianity is not a church membership, it is a relationship with the eternal God. Some in the churches, living worldly, carnal lives, assault verbally, socially, the saints in the church.
The assaults of the devils, the dragging down of the curse of sin, the weakness of one’s own flesh, has led many to a ‘sick’ spirit. Christians who live that way, live in fear. Fear has become the main oppression of many Christians. There are many, many phobias. Psychiatrists claim to have named more than 700.
Even Christians battle fear. Many battle the fear of past sins. Many fear due to the worldliness that has replaced the holiness of their salvation past. Some fear that God didn't really forgive them. Some fear that they've sinned the unpardonable sin. Some fear that God may give a minister a word of knowledge about them. Others fear sickness. Some fear dying. Some even fear getting wet on the way to church so much that they stay home with even the threat of rain.
The devil takes advantage of our insecurities and encourages fears. He wants to paralyze the Christian soldiers with fear. He wants us to forget we wear a shield of faith.
Has the enemy (the devil) been building fears in you by his assaults? Do you have a phobia or two? Do you spend time worrying? Do you fret? Are you scared? Are you fearful? Are you so ashamed of your fear that you don't want to tell people of it? Are you like many Christians, and hiding your great fear? Fear is an assault of the devils against us. The fear makes us far less aware of the presence of the Lord. When the Lord is near, the fear flees.
Fear is not just an inconvenience, as you have tried to tell yourself. It does prevent you from having the spiritual joy and victory that you should have. The devil is trying to rob you, and many Christians, of their joy, victory, and peace - by inspiring fear.
We need healing from the assaults of the devil, of the cursed world, and of our own personal weaknesses.
The real test in Christian living is to maintain a relationship with Jesus throughout all the other events. Wearing our shield of faith, as our defensive weapon against fear, should be the norm.
Surely, you may join a church, aid its ministry, and worship in its services. However, be sure to maintain your relationship with Jesus, maintain the wearing of the shield of faith. If you lose that relationship with Jesus, all else is worthless. You can lose your soul to a devil's hell, and still be a preacher, board member, choir director, or Sunday School teacher. Relationship with Jesus is vital to maintain your faith. The rest, as being a church member, teaching Sunday School, etc., is good; but these do not save your soul.
What we need to find in the Christian life is victorious living, the shield being grasped in our hands, and never sat down in a corner.
"Restore unto me the joy of my salvation."
Since many Christians have lost their joy from the assaults of life. Sin, and yielding to the assaults, leads to a joyless, peace-less, love-less life in some degree or another. David sinned, and found a life to be miserable until he repented. Peter denied his Lord, and was forlorn. Through carelessness in prayer and Bible study, many Christians lose the relationship of Christianity. The miracle of Christianity and its joy, is the relationship.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
The key is to "receive Him." That simply means to accept Him. He has knocked on the door, all we must do is open it and commune with Him. Many receive soap operas, receive trashy magazines, receive questionable T.V. programs, receive gossip of a friend, receive criticism against another... etc. We all do much receiving. The moment we ‘receive’ the assaults of the cursed world, and being to live with them, we lose Jesus.
Just simply keep receiving Jesus on a daily basis. Learn to greet Him "good morning" in the morning when you wake. Talk with Him as you toil through the day. Say "good night" to Him at bedtime. This Christianity is a relationship.
Joy will continue to one who receives Jesus, and His Word, and His truth. It is not difficult. It is so easy. Most church people will even think you strange, but you will be a very "happy" strange. Many in churches who have lost this relationship are the miserable, the hypocrites, the abusers. Those who have a relationship with Jesus, are the ones who can truly smile, and can love others, and can radiate the real Christ-life.
When we have Jesus, we have the shield of faith, and we do not need to have fear anymore.
Jesus said to John on Patmos:
"FEAR NOT, I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST... I AM HE THAT LIVETH, AND WAS DEAD, AND BEHOLD I AM ALIVE FOREVERMORE."
Christ will still be ruling, and in control when the future arrives that you have been fretting. "The First" will still be in charge in "the Last" of our days. Jesus is the "same yesterday, today, and forever."
"Fear not" is in the Bible 80 times. God seems to want to make sure that we know that it is a command. He expects us to be full of faith, not full of fear.
"FEAR NOT, FOR BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY... UNTO YOU IS BORN... A SAVIOR."
The angels announced that the shepherds did not need to fear, because a Savior had been born. We have that same Shepherd. We can go to Him when fearful thing s arise. Too many are full of fear, because they have gotten their eyes off of the Savior.
"FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK, FOR IT IS YOUR FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM."
We are still the flock of God. Jesus is still our Shepherd. Our Shepherd still wants to give us, the kingdom. Our Shepherd still wants to take care of us. As a good Shepherd, He still provides for us.
II Timothy 1:7
"GOD HATH NOT GIVEN US A SPIRIT OF FEAR, BUT OF POWER, AND OF LOVE, AND OF A SOUND MIND."
"FEAR NOT... I AM WITH THEE."
The Lord is still with each of us. He is with us whenever we go through the times of deep "waters". When we go through the times that are like "fire", He is with us. He is with us, during our times of battles. We are to have this shield of faith, and utilize it.
"YE APPROACH THIS DAY UNTO BATTLE AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES, LET NOT YOUR HEART FAINT, FEAR NOT, AND DO NOT TREMBLE, NEITHER BE YE TERRIFIED BECAUSE OF THEM. FOR THE LORD YOU GOD IS HE THAT GOETH WITH YOU TO FIGHT."
The Lord is with us to strengthen us. He does not want us to be weak soldiers , fearful to go to battle. He does not want to let us be assaulted by the devil so much that we no longer are bearing the nature of Jesus.
"FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH THEE, BE NOT DISMAYED FOR I AM THY GOD, I WILL STRENGTHEN."
The Bible tells us that we do not need to fear the next, or current assault. God will not let us be assaulted above that we are able to bear.
I Corinthians 10:13
"THERE IS NO TEMPTATION TAKEN YOU BUT SUCH AS IS COMMON TO MAN, BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL WHO WILL NOT PERMIT YOU TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE THAT YOU ARE ABLE..."
"MY SPIRIT REMAINS AMONG YOU; FEAR YE NOT."