Ephesians 6:16 says: Above all, taking the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye
shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. That literally means, "the wicked one."
The scriptures tells that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen (Hebrews 11:1)."
Faith has substance. That means it is a tangible thing. Isn't it good to know that hope (when offered
with faith) becomes tangible? With God, in the realms of the spirit, faith is a tangible substance. It
is not a wispy nothing.
In fact, it is such a powerful substance, that we are instructed to pick it up like a shield, hold
it in front of us, and it will protect us from being wounded (sometimes mortally) by any weapon the enemy can come
up with to hurl at us.
Before we look at what faith is, let's take a moment to look at what faith is not.
Faith is not a substance or means to manipulate and control God, other people, and/or circumstances.
If we are having financial problems due to mishandling of our money or sin in our lives--sin will
punch holes in our moneybags--sending a faith gift to some ministry, however worthy it may be, will not straighten out our
financial woes (that is not to say that God is not merciful and does sometimes choose to bail us out--but who wants to
live like that--constantly bombarding Heaven to bail us out of troubles we create for ourselves)?
How about if we have a wayward spouse, child or other loved one? Does putting on the shield of faith
absolutely guarantee they will repent and surrender to God's will for their lives--thereby bringing us much happiness
(and peace of mind concerning them) in the process?
How we all wish the answer to that question could be "yes."
But unfortunately, God will not over-ride the freedom of choice he created within every one
So what good is faith if it can't change things, i.e., people situations?
No one said it couldn't. But we need to distinguish between faith toward God concerning his will
for our own lives and attempting to use faith toward God in an effort to manipulate and control the choices
and behavior of other people.
Attempting to use faith as a manipulative thing is sin. Worse than that, if that is what we are
doing, we are actually practicing (or attempting to practice) a form of witchcraft. Witchcraft is all about control.
So, the first thing we must do, if we are going to take up the shield of faith, is give up all control
to God. Surrender our lives completely to his will and give up all controlling, manipulative behavior towards other people
and situations that involve them.
Does that mean we cannot ask God to intervene and help those we love who are lost and hurting? No!
The scripture tell us to pray without ceasing and that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!
But the only person we are called upon to control is ourselves (as in self-control).
Can we say, like Job did, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him?" That was total surrender.
If we cannot say that--we do not trust that his will for our lives is perfect. If we cannot
say that, we have not completely surrendered to God ourselves.
How about what the apostle Paul said? "To live is Christ, and to die is gain." Death should hold
no fear to those who belong to Christ. If it does, there can be only two reasons for it--either we have not truly believed
unto salvation--or we love this present world more than God. Both of which place us on dangerous ground.
In order to take up the shield of faith, the absolute trustworthiness of our God, and the rightness
of his sovereign choices for our lives, must be completely settled in our minds.
And that can only be settled if we make his Written Word a part of our daily lives. The only
things we know about God (at all) come from his Written Word--which has been settled--forever--in Heaven. What has already
been written will never be changed, replaced, outdated or updated.
Romans 10:17 says, "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
Without a solid foundational knowledge of the Written Word of God, taking up the shield of faith,
properly, is simply not possible.
But is know the Word of God enough?
No, it is only the beginning. Faith will not shield us if we are not walking in love.
Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love. In other words, if we are living selfishly.
If love for God is not supreme in our lives and love for each other following right after, we may say we have faith, but in
reality, it is not operative in our lives.
Faith to believe and act upon what is Written (remember the very first piece of armour?),
is activated by love.
And love is as love does--love is not a warm fuzzy emotion--it is always action.
God demonstrated his love for us....
Every single piece of the armour of God is based upon what has been Written in the Word of God.
That is foundational.
What is Written, tells us how to activate the Truth, Righteousness and Faith--the very powerful
weapons--we have all been given as believers in Jesus Christ.
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh), but they are mighty....