In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…
~ Ephesians 6:16-18 ESV
Welcome to mile-marker 21 of our #encourage marathon! If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.
Someone out there is defenseless. It might even be you.
Do you ever yell at people in movies, even if it’s just in your head? “Don’t leave your weapon on the ground!” Or “What are you thinking going into that place alone? You need backup!” It’s almost like the person in the movie has lost common sense. Anybody with two eyes can spot the danger. These scenes are suspense winders, designed to heighten your sense of anticipation so that you will jump at the right moment.
(Honestly though, why would you drop your weapon when you know that the likelihood of attack is high?)
As Christians, we have 5 things we absolutely need to use everyday. Unfortunately, there are times we cast one aside or simply forget them—to our peril.
The Shield of Faith
We count those brave who, upon losing their weapons and defenses, stand tall and face their enemy and certain death. Would we count them equally brave if they had rushed into a fight without them? No. We would consider them foolish.
When David faced Goliath, he brought with him 5 smooth stones and slingshot. He didn’t put on any armor. Goliath looked at him and laughed at his feeble weapons. David had essentially “brought a knife to a gun fight.” David didn’t hold before him a physical shield, but he wielded one that we have access to as well—the shield of faith. Let’s read that passage for a moment:
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.
Goliath didn’t even carry his own shield—he had someone else doing it for him!
And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.
And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.”
~ 1 Samuel 17.41-47, ESV
Look at David’s confidence, not in himself, but the power of God! When we face Satan, that is the kind of faith we need to carry in front of us. He can come at us with everything he’s got and we need to plant our feet in the ground, hold out our shield before us and say, “God will protect me and defeat you!”
The Helmet of Salvation
One of the greatest protections we have is the saving grace of Christ Jesus. This concept of “salvation” is foreign to a world that thinks of wealth, self-determination, and power as the means by which we overcome. Those things aren’t enough. Self-determination alone will not stop you from dying. Wealth cannot hold back a nuclear weapon. One earthly power can be overcome by another (think of the mighty empires of Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome…).
It’s an interesting analogy, this “helmet” of salvation. A helmet protects the brain. The brain controls the entire body. Without our brain, even our involuntary functions (heart pumping, lung breathing etc) will cease. The power of God’s salvation protects our mindset. When we consciously know that we have put our soul under God’s protection, what can man do to us? He can kill, torture, maim, and steal, but he cannot snatch us from the hand of God. The only thing that can take us out of God’s hand of protection is our own will. If we choose to leave God’s protection, He will let us go.
The Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word)
It’s hard to fight a battle without a weapon, isn’t it? You can be all suited up and ready to fight, but without a weapon the enemy will never be subdued—they’ll just keep attacking until you are completely overcome. God has given us a powerful weapon—his word. In this passage, his word is compared to a sword. A sword both attacks the enemy and blocks deadly blows. If we fail to sharpen it, carry it, or use it, what good is it to us? So many people say, “I need to read/study my bible more,” but they don’t do it. They go into the fight with no weapon and are unable to stand in the difficult days.
Don’t cast your weapon aside. Pick it up and have it at the ready.
Prayer is not a weapon, but it is critical to our survival. I think of it like a law enforcement officer or soldier with a radio. They regularly communicate with dispatch or their base to keep them apprised of their “20” (location) and the status of a situation. If they need backup or allied assistance, they call out for it. Prayer is a radio that never loses signal, and God is never distracted. He always hears our prayers, he knows our “20” and he sends help whenever we call out for it. Do not neglect to keep up the communication with God!
This isn’t technically a weapon or piece of armor, it’s a mentality. Complacency is deadly for a soldier. When the Christian decides to put their feet up and travel on cruise control, Satan will spot an opportunity and attack. Be on guard at all times.
I’m not sure where you are in your race through life, but God knows. He can see what’s coming and longs for you to be prepared. If you are simply stumbling down the road, you need to stop and take inventory. If you aren’t carrying the full armor of God, it’s time to pick it up and put it on. We aren’t going to win this battle without the Lord and the tools He’s given us. We need them all.
Don’t begin your day without putting on each piece.
Please continue to join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share the image or verse reference on your Twitter feed or Facebook page with the hash tag (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.
Make some time to copy down these posts. Some of them are a bit long, but it only takes a few minutes. Ask your kids to do it with you. Don’t just be encouraged, but encourage others in the race!