IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: TAKING UP THE SHIELD OF FAITH
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” — Ephesians 6:16
There are unseen enemies who have you in their sights, ready to squeeze the trigger and take you down. They are foes in the war you cannot see, fighting a battle you can win only with the armor of God.
One of the reasons the ancient Roman army was unstoppable was their shields. It measured 2 ft wide by 4 ft. high and was made of 2 layers of wood, glued together and covered first with linen, then with leather. At both the top and bottom were iron bars which not only strengthened the shield, but made it possible to connect with the shields of fellow soldiers. In battle it was almost impossible for enemy armies to penetrate this Roman wall of shields. Paul compares our faith to this invincible shield, and tells us first to….Take up the shield of faith.
The most potent weapon in the devil’s arsenal is the fiery dart of deceit. Whether it’s the deceit of conceit, or of compromise, or of condemnation, you must never let down your guard. Our faith connects us to God’s strength, and extinguishes all the fiery darts of the evil one.
LIKE the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It is his destiny to be assaulted; it is his duty to attack. Part of his life will be occupied with defensive warfare. He will have to defend earnestly the faith once delivered to the saints; he will have to resist the devil; he will have to stand against all his wiles; and having done all, still to stand. He will, however, be but a sorry Christian if he acteth only on the defensive. He must be one who goes against his foes, as well as stands still to receive their advance. He must be able to say with David, “I come against thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou hast defied.” He must wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. He must have weapons for his warfare — not carnal — but “mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” He must not, I say, be content to live in the stronghold, though he be then well guarded, and munitions of stupendous strength his dwelling place may be; but he must go forth to attack the castles of the enemy, and to pull them down, to drive the Canaanite out of the land. Now, there are many ways in which the Christian may to a great degree forget his marshal character. And alas! there are not a few who, if they be Christians at all, certainly know but very little of that daily warfare to which the Captain of our salvation calleth his disciples. They will know most of fighting who cleave closest to king David; who are willing not merely to be with him when he is in Saul’s court with his fingers amid the strings of the harp, going in and out before the people, and behaving discreetly, so that “all Israel and Judah loved David because he went out and came in before them but men who are willing to go with David into the cave of Adullam when he is outlawed, when his character has become a stench in the nostrils – of every proud hypocrite, and when Saul the king — in his day the representative of that worldly religion which is not of God, but standeth in the strength of man — when he hunteth David to seek his life. Thus the men who are willing to follow Christ in the midst of an ungodly and perverse generation, to come right out from it and be separate; their life will have to be like the life of the men of Napthali, who hazarded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. You will remember that Jonathan, one of the sweetest characters in the Word of God, is one of whom after all there is little to be said. His life was inglorious from the very time that he forsook David, and his death was amongst the slain of the Philistians upon the dewless mountains – of Gilboa. Alas, poor Jonathan, he could give David his bow, but he could not draw the bow for David; he could give David his garments, even to his armour, but he could not put on the armour for David. The attraction of his father’s court was too much for him, and there he stayed. In that Book of the Chronicles, where the Holy Ghost has recorded the names of the mighty men that were with David in Adullam, we find not the name of Jonathan. We find the names of those who broke through the Philistians to give David a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem; we find the name of the man who went down into the pit in the time of winter and smote the lion; but Jonathan has not the honour to stand recorded in the list of the great host which was like the host of God. And there are Christians of that kind nowaday. They have a soft religion— a religion which shuns opposition, a reed-like religion which, bows before every blast, unlike that cedar of godliness which standeth aloft in the midst of the storm, and claps its boughs in the hurricane for very joy of triumph, though the earth be all in arms abroad. Such men, like those who shunned David in Adullam, lack the faith that shares the glory. Though saved, yet their names shall not be found written among the mighty men who for our Great Commander’s sake are willing to suffer the loss of all things and to go forth without the camp bearing his reproach. Those Christians too, who, having come clean out from the world, are diligently engaged in building up the Church, will have to fight more than others who are rather built up than builders. You remember, in Nehemiah’s day, how the Jews wrought in their work when they built the walls of Jerusalem. With one hand they held the trowel, and in the other they held a weapon. “The builders, everyone had his sword girded by his side and so builded.” Moreover there were master masons along the wall, and the labourers all actually engaged, yet here and there you might see a sentinel ready to sound the trumpet so that the workmen might prove warriors, rush to the fray, and drive away their foes. Be you but very diligent in doing good to the Church of Christ, and you shall soon have reason to defend your cause. Do you but serve your Master zealously and diligently, and let but the Lord’s blessing rest upon your labours, the Lord’s blessing will entail Satan’s curse, the smile of God will necessarily incur the frown of man. According to your nonconformity to the world, your daring to be singular— when to be singular is to be right, — according to your diligence in building up the walls of Jerusalem, you shall be compelled to recognise your soldierly character. To you the text shall come with greater emphasis than to more cowardly souls. “Above all, take the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
You and I must take our stand against our enemy, an enemy who shows you no mercy, who will fight and defeat you and destroy you if he can. Your armor, including your shield of faith, will protect you as long as your courage does not fail. Your victory is sure as long as you keep your shield up and your feet on the ground.
Raise the shield of faith! Reject all the insidious lies that burst into flames in our minds. Trust in Christ. Trust him wholly. Trust him always. Trust him more and more. Trust him in life and trust him in death. Insist on the gospel!
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