Our Spiritual War Part 5
Ephesians 6:16, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
I don’t know if you have seen the movie 300. It is based on the true story of King Leonidas of Sparta, and how 300 Spartans repelled an onslaught of the Persian army. Eventually they were overrun because a Spartan who was not allowed to fight with them betrayed Leonidas and those who fought with him, leading the Persians to a secret passage that allowed them to surround the 300 and kill them. There was a saying in Sparta, there were a number of sayings in Sparta, but one in particular that wives and loved ones would tell soldiers before they left for battle, “Come back with your shield, or on it.” In other words, come back victorious, or dead, a lovely thing to tell your husband, son, brother, etc… but it meant something significant for the Spartans. The Spartan military used a shield wall in battle called the Phalanx, where the soldiers would use their shields to form a wall or dome to protect one another. This was a useful tactic at the time, as it allowed a small number of soldiers to protect one another while fighting off a larger force. It serves as an illustration for us of the importance of our shield, the shield of faith.
In Roman times there were two types of shields that were common for soldiers. First was a small saucer shield for close combat and then a shield like a door multiple layers of wood, skins, and metal to protect the whole body. But just like the Spartans, no soldier in that time would go to war without their shield, and neither should we. We have talked about the importance of believing our Commander, being clothed by our Commander, and being prepared for our commander, today we are talking about trusting our commander. For that is what faith is, it means to trust or place our confidence in God, to rely on Him for our salvation. Why is this faith so important? Because it is with our faith in Jesus that our shield protects us from the fiery arrows of our enemy. We have a very real enemy, and though he is defeated, he is still trying to destroy each and every one of us. He fires his arrows of doubt, fear, worry, and sin at each of us, hoping to get one in the weak spots in our armor. We, by the grace and power of our God, must take up our shield of faith, our belief in who God is, and all He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives, and use that faith as a shield to be protected from the enemy. Then I dare say, that we as the church should form a shield wall of faith with one another, letting our faith strengthen others, and letting the faith of others strengthen us. How do we grow in faith? There are a number of ways but I want to focus briefly on two.
First, Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So first, and foremost we grow in faith through the Word of God. The more we read the Bible, study the Bible, memorize, meditate on, and apply the Bible to our lives, the stronger our faith will be. The Bible is very much food for our souls, what happens when we don’t eat for a while, we lose strength, energy, our blood sugar gets low and we get confused or disoriented. If we go without food long enough, we die. The Word of God is our spiritual food, the more time we spend in His Word, the stronger we will be. Second, Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “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 Him.” Hebrews tells us that we need faith to please God and then describes faith as belief in action. The first action is to come to God, the second is to believe that He is who He says He is, the third is to believe in the future that He has for us. I have said this before, but it is worth repeating. We are all in a spiritual war, each piece of our spiritual armor is vital to our spiritual well-being, Paul says “above all” when he tells us to take up our shield of faith, reminding us of the importance of believing in God. Take up your shield my brothers and sisters, the battle is won in Jesus, and we must claim our victory in Him!
Image Borrowed from Comic Vine