Shields Up!

© E. E. Perry 2001
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16).

Roman soldiers carried four foot by two and a half foot shields. These shields were made of wood or wicker-work covered with leather. In ancient warfare, hollow reeds were filled with naphtha or some other combustible material. They set fire to these reeds and shot them at the enemy. Whatever the arrow struck, the flames consumed. Throwing water on the flames only increased the fury. The only way to extinguish the flames was to suffocate them. The leather stretched over the shields served this purpose.

The Apostle Paul writes that faith is our shield. Through faith, we extinguish the fiery arrows of Satan. Any Christian who follows Jesus will come to a point where their faith is challenged by the flaming arrow of doubt.

We read an example of this in Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus had just fed five thousand people. The disciples witnessed this miracle. Jesus told them to get in a boat and go to the other side of the Lake of Galilee. Jesus went into the mountains to pray.

While the disciples rowed across the lake, a storm erupted. The wind and waves tossed the boat, and they feared they would sink. During the early morning hours, they saw a figure walking toward them on the water. They belived it was a ghost.

"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." They heard a familiar voice calling out to them. It was Jesus.

Peter wanted greater assurance. He said, "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water."

Jesus knew Peter's faith would be tested, but He told Peter to come to Him. In faith, Peter stepped out and walked on the water. Then, the flaming arrow of doubt struck. Peter felt the wind and saw the waves. He became afraid and began to doubt faith could carry him to Jesus. He began to sink.

Though Peter doubted his faith could carry him, he did not doubt Jesus' ability to save him. "Lord, save me!" He cried.

Jesus reached out and saved Peter. "You of little faith," He said, "why did you doubt."

Peter's faith allowed him to walk on water. His doubt cancelled that faith. His faith in Jesus to save him preserved his life. We, too, must take up the shield of faith. Trusting Jesus to see us through, we can accomplish great things for God.

When Satan puts doubts in your mind, put up your shield of faith; trust Jesus to see you through it.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

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