The Armor of God Part 5: The Shield of Faith
“.. in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” NASU
The subject of faith is certainly important when it comes to God, Jesus and all things related to Christianity. Jesus had much to say about faith, and of course Paul, Peter, John, James and the writer to the Hebrews all emphasized its importance. Add to that all of the literature and teachings on the subject over the past two millennia, and we can see how there is no scarcity of thoughts and words concerning faith in the world.
Still the subject seems a bit vague and unclear. Sometimes people confuse faith with positive thinking or speaking. There is little doubt that thinking and speaking positively can be helpful and even necessary. Even people who do not believe in Christ or God think of having faith as being optimistic in outlook. It is my view that believers in Christ have all the more reason to look forward to the future. However, we do not believe “in faith.” We have faith in One Who is faithful!
In both the Old and New Testaments, faith is about a relationship. People trusted in God, believed in Him because they knew enough about Him, and were persuaded by Him to trust in Him. Because they trusted in Him they listened to Him and obeyed His Voice. Their obedience would eventually produce the “evidence of things not seen” spoken of in Hebrews 11:1. In many cases the actions inspired by their convictions brought fantastic results! There was a time in my life when I desired faith in order that I could get results like those found in the Bible. In time I learned that my relationship with Him was my greatest desire. My faith is IN HIM — not in the working of miracles!
Like many others, I observed the results my biblical heroes were getting, and looked for methods they might have used to get those results. The closer I read, the more I realized many were like Daniel’s three friends who did not know or even care if they came out of the furnace of fire! All that mattered was their relationship with the One in Whom they believed!
This is the faith that withstands those flaming arrows, the frightening circumstances, the betrayals, the disappointments, the false accusations, the rejections, the suggestions that God has let you down! Our faith is in a Person! He has made Himself known unto us in many ways both great and small! Therefore we can take even the smallest proofs of His presence and let them grow like the tiny mustard seed!
I like to use the analogy of my marriage. Many years ago I was married to an unfaithful person. There was no peace in my heart because I could not trust her to stay with me and care for our son. Years later the Lord brought another into my life who had no desire to follow after other men. We do not always agree, but I trust she would not go with another and she knows my heart belongs to only her. If someone would spread a rumor that they saw her out with another man, I would not believe it for a second. I KNOW her. I know that she is not that kind of person. I trust her because she is faithful to me.
As our relationship with God grows, we come to trust Him more. Our faith in Him grows. He does not improve, but our knowledge in Him does. It is as simple as that. As we spend time with Him in prayer, meditation, worship, His Word, and in fellowship with others who know Him, we get to know Him more. There are worthwhile practices and patterns of life in the Christian world, but it is sometimes easy to forget that these practices are only a means to an end. The purpose is always to know Christ and learn of Him. To develop our relationship first with Him and then with one another so we can all be united in Him for His glory.
The beauty of all this is that God Himself is more than eager for us to know Him. He has provided everything we need for our faith to become strong in Him. So when we are attacked by thoughts and words that are determined to defeat us, we can hold up our shield of Faith in the most loving and all-powerful One who is always on our side!