The Shield of Faith
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes...Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).
The belt of truth protects us from the enemy’s lies, the breastplate of Jesus’ righteousness protects our hearts–maintaining our loyalty–and the proper footwear ensures our readiness to go into the battle in order that we may share the truth of the possibility of peace with God to others. These are all pieces that a Christian soldier uses in their own self-defense and to move into the enemy's territory. The shield of faith is special; not only is it intended to protect the one carrying it, but when used effectively, helps to protect our fellow-soldiers. We are not to attempt to fight this battle on our own–together we are stronger!
A very effective battleground strategy employed by ancient kingdoms as far back as the Greeks was known as the shield wall. Soldiers would typically fight in formation, interlocking their shields together thereby not only protecting individual soldiers, but protecting all behind the wall of shields. Our shield of faith can work much the same way in the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves. As disciples cooperate together, work in unity and diligently follow our Commander, we are made stronger in our defense against the enemy. But that’s not all the shield of faith does. It can actually “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (v.6)!
A favourite offensive weapon during ancient warfare were arrows dipped into tar and set ablaze prior to releasing them onto an enemy force. A soldier who avoided being hit with an arrow, could still find himself in terrible danger as the fiery tar became dislodged on impact–he could find himself a victim of the ‘splatter.’ Armies devised a means of reducing the splatter and even extinguishing the flames. They soaked their wooden shields with their leather lining in water before the battle. This would have made the shields heavier, but well worth the weight for the added protection they would then provide. Faith is defined as a complete trust and confidence in God. Our shield of faith needs to soaked regularly in a vibrant relationship with God–spending time in His presence. The enemy’s fiery arrows of doubt will be entirely disabled, unable to pierce the bearer of the shield or spread its injury to those around.
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!