"In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one" (Eph. 6:16).
Intense spiritual warfare calls for intense trust in God.
An on-duty Roman soldier was always dressed for battle but didn't employ his shield, helmet, and sword until the fighting started. But we as Christians must be ready for battle at all times because our enemy is relentless. We can't afford to overlook a single piece of armor or slip into complacency or neglect.
In that regard, Ephesians 6:16 says in effect, "Now that you've prepared for battle by girding your loins with truth, protecting your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness, and securing your feet with the gospel of peace, don't forget to take up your shield."
Two types of shields were commonly used by Roman soldiers. One was a small, lightweight, round shield that was strapped to the soldier's left forearm and used to parry blows during hand-to-hand combat. The other, which Paul refers to here, was a large shield measuring about four-and- a-half-feet high and two-and-a-half-feet wide. It was made of sturdy wood covered with metal and a thick layer of oil- treated leather. The metal deflected arrows while the oily leather extinguished the fiery pitch that arrows were commonly swabbed with. That type of shield was ideal for full-body protection.
In the initial stages of a battle, the front-line soldiers knelt behind their large shields to protect themselves and provide a defense barrier for the troops behind them who were firing offensive weapons. The goal was to inch their way forward as a human wall until they could engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.
As a believer, the shield that protects you is your faith in God. If you never question His character, power, or Word, you'll never fall victim to Satan's attacks. That doesn't mean he won't beseige you—but when he does, his assaults will be ineffective.
Suggestions for Prayer
Faith is a precious gift from God (Phil. 1:29). Thank Him for it and ask for wisdom to apply it properly when spiritual struggles come (James 1:5).
For Further Study
Read Romans 8:31-39.
- Meditate on the victory you have in Christ.
- What effect should that have on your daily living?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.