Fighting the Good Fight

In verse sixteen of the sixth chapter of Paul's Epistile to the Ephesisans, he reminds us to take up the shield of faith. This shield Paul tells us is to be used to extinguish all the fiery darts or attacks of the devil. The Roman shield was large enough to provide protection for the whole body. It was made of wood and was often covered with the hide of an animal. It would have been bound with iron at the edges to lock the whole thing together or at the top and bottom for strength. Often the shield itself would be submerged and briely soaked in water so that when a flaming arrow, launched by an enemy, which was a common practice, struck the shield it would be extinguished. Paul tells us we are to take up our shield of faith in order to quench the attacks of Satan. Our faith, our trust and belief that God’s Word is truth, should be taken up when we are tempted. Satan seeks to convince us that when we depart from God’s law, when we walk away from what He has told us to do or not to do, then we will find real joy, contentment and pleasure. However, trust and belief in God’s truth enable us to strip away the allure of Satan’s lies. God’s truth reveals the deception and exposes the shocking consequences of such a path. Pain and misery most often lie at the bottom of Satan’s attacks, so we are to hold up our shield of faith, thereby exposing his lies for what they are and extinguishing them.

To lay aside our shield of faith is to ignore the truth of God’s Word at our own peril. Let me try and illustrate. I can remember a time when I was young, (older though than I would like to admit) when my mother, brother and sister and I all piled into our old, green Volkswagen Beetle “Bug” and headed to the store. I, being the youngest and smallest, had to ride in the very back, as space was not available in the front or back seat. When I say “in the very back” I mean the way back, the space between the back seat and the downwardly curving back window of the car. This was in the days before child seatbelt laws when you could basically strap your children to the rear bumper without getting in trouble—well almost. As we travelled, it grew increasingly hot in the car. I remember particularly feeling the heat as the engine in a Volkswagen Bug was in the back, right under where I was sitting. When we got to the store, our car was well on the way to overheating. When we exited the vehicle, my mom called to our attention the metallic tail pipe. It was hot! It was obviously hot as smoke was still rising from it. As we gathered there at the back of the car, I remember my mom commenting that none of us should touch the tail pipe, as it was still very hot. I remember at first thinking it odd that my mom would find it necessary to tell all of us not to touch it. It was obvious that it was hot and who in their right mind would touch it? Well, my mind began to muse over her comment, and my heart began to rebel at what I thought was such an obviously controlling thing to say. “I cannot believe that she would say that and especially while looking at me. What does she think I am, stupid?” Moments later, “Who is she to tell me that I can’t touch that tail pipe, though?” I said to myself. “I’m not stupid enough to touch something so obviously hot, but if I did want to, she cannot stop me!” I reasoned in my head. Can you see where this is heading? Before I knew it I was standing in the store parking lot, crying out in pain with a two inch, pipe-shaped burn running the width of my palm! I hadn’t just place one finger on the tailpipe or given it a quick slap to test how hot it was. I, in my infinite stupidity and independence, had wrapped my entire hand around the thing! Now before you judge me too harshly and after you stop laughing, remember that we all do this when we sin. God has told us not to “touch”, not to go to that place or act in that way or do that thing. He has told us often what the consequences will be and yet we, with our rebellious hearts, hearts that cry out for “freedom” and independence, do indeed “touch”, or go to that place or act in that way or do that thing that He has forbidden. God has given us these commands and forbidden certain things for our good, to keep us safe and to keep us from harm, just as my mother was trying to do. Hold up your Shield of Faith today. In faith, believe God’s truths. Let His Word strip away all of the allure of Satan’s lies and fill you with a renewed love for the Lord.

If you do indeed find your self reeling from a "burn", the consequences of disobedience, know that there is indeed a Savior Who has paid for this sin and stands ready to comfort and console and forgive.