Sunday, October 14, 2018

Becoming a Christian Soldier - SHIELD OF FAITH

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for https://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo SundaySoldierSHIELD_zpss2kjpbgv.jpg
Becoming a Christian Soldier - SHIELD OF FAITH
 Today we continue learning about "Becoming A Christian Soldier" and learning how to "put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11) - Now, I have to be very clear - I am NOT talking about becoming a physical soldier and I am NOT saying that you should go out and physically fight (although I appreciate and respect anybody who has served or is serving in our army, navy or air force).  What I'm talking about in this series is on a spiritual level.  If you look at Ephesians, chapter 6 verse 12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood..." that is the exact point - we are not talking about a physical fight and we are not talking about physical training.  Becoming a Christian soldier is all about our relationship with God;  about our spiritual training and about our spiritual self.

A few weeks ago we learned about who our enemy is and then most recently we learned about the FEET FITTED WITH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.
Click HERE to read INTRODUCTION to this series.
Click HERE to read "STRENGTH FROM GOD"
Click HERE to read "4 Ways To STAND"
Click HERE to read "BELT OF TRUTH"
Click HERE to read "BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"
Click HERE to read "FEET FITTED WITH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE"

Our God is all powerful, all knowing, He is our Protector and Provider - He would never throw us into a battle without fully equipping us first.  Today we continue learning about the "full armor of God" and specifically "the shield of faith

It is interesting to me that there is an order to the verses in Ephesians chapter 6 - first we must prepare, train and draw from God's power "after you have done everything" - verse 13 ) and then we must STAND.  It's not all about the preparation, eventually we must "do" or "act" - we must implement what we learned in our training.


What was the shield in a Roman Soldier's attire during Jesus' day?  
The shield was an oval shaped protecting gear that was light enough to be held in one hand but large enough to stop arrows from penetrating the soldier.  It wasn't just held in place - the soldier moved the shield up and down or left and right.  When the soldier saw which direction the enemy's arrows were coming from, he had to move that shield to intercept the weapon zooming at him.

I find the use of "flaming arrows" in the highlighted verse above very interesting.  Roman Soldiers truly did use flaming arrows but in today's scripture we are talking about "flaming arrows of the evil one".  Remember, the evil one is Satan; the devil a.k.a. the Christian's enemy.  "The flame" infers eternal damnation but to me it also symbolizes sin.  Whenever I do something wrong;  whenever I have sinned, I feel this burning rush of guilt flow over me - it's hot & fiery almost like an embarrassment flush (only worse).  This happens when the evil one's flaming arrow has penetrated my spiritual body and it happened because I did NOT have my "shield of faith" in hand.  These "flaming arrows" can come in the form of temptation and deception and can be subtle.  This flaming arrow could fly by you from behind and just catch your clothes on fire - you won't notice until you are fully engulfed in flames.

The only way to extinguish these deadly arrows is to "take up the shield of faith."  This is action on our part.  We must cling to the shield and move it in the direction necessary to smother the arrow.
  
I looked up the meaning of faith in the dictionary: 
faith - belief in something that cannot be seen, trust in & loyalty to God, confidence in a person, thing, deity or doctrine.  Conviction, assurance, devotion. 

This "Shield" is our Christian faith - which comes from accepting the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who died for our sins.  It is this faith, conviction, belief, devotion that is the only weapon that will continually protect us against the evil schemes of the devil.  Our Christian assurance is the only thing that will stop Satan's temptation & deception.


Be sure to have the Shield of Faith in hand at all times!  Making sure to move it in the direction that will extinguish all arrows!


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