“The Shield of Faith” – Part 4 of a 7 part series on the “Armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
In the 1989 movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Indiana (Harrison Ford) is being forced to endure successive “tests” of skill (and luck) to accomplish his goal: discover and acquire the “holy grail.” To make things even more critical, his father (played by Sean Connery) is dying, and the only cure can come from the sacred cup. The final “test” for Indiana is, by far, the most difficult. Because, instead of skill, the test now requires faith. The ancient writer of the biblical book of Hebrews described faith as the “assurance about what we do not see [i.e. perceiving as fact what is not revealed to our senses]” (Hebrews 11:1) So, what makes this particular test the most difficult of all previous tests is this: what we’re called to believe makes little or no sense. But, that’s why it’s called faith.
The Bible is replete with passages about the importance of our faith in God (we’re “saved by faith”; we “live by faith; we “walk by faith;” – Eph. 2:8; Rom. 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:7) But you won’t find a single biblical example of a person’s faith being easy. In fact, as one of my best friends told me, “Nick, if it’s easy – it’s not faith.”
The “shield of faith” described in Paul’s passage on the “armor of God” (Eph. 6:16) is based on the large, heavy, door-like shield that covered an ancient warrior’s entire body….As the shield protected a soldier in combat, so also faith spiritually protects us in every situation from whatever the devil might launch at us.”
The enemy’s overarching goal is to destroy our faith – which renders us useless for the Kingdom of Heaven here on planet earth. The devil’s “flaming arrows” of doubt, discouragement, anger, unforgiveness, lust, materialism, pride, etc. “come unexpectedly, suddenly, with great speed, and in great number. Sometimes we are even attacked while having some powerful thought about God!”
Faith is hard or it wouldn’t be called faith. I heard a preacher once say, “Faith is like a muscle. It doesn’t grow unless it’s exercised.” “Faith is a firm persuasion; an unwavering trust in God based on everything He said to us about Himself in His Word….Unbelief will weaken you before the enemy will.”
In the early years of Billy Graham’s ministry, his dear friend (and fellow evangelist), Charles Templeton, shocked Billy by abandoning his faith due to nagging questions about evil in the world. “People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do,” Templeton told Graham. “Your faith is too simple.” Billy Graham found himself in a crisis of personal faith. Lee Strobel recounts the story: “Graham searched the Scriptures for answers, he prayed, he pondered. Finally, in the moonlit San Bernardino mountains, everything came to a climax. Gripping his Bible, Graham dropped to his knees and confessed he couldn’t answer some of the philosophical questions that Templeton and others were raising. Graham confessed, ‘I found [by attempting to know the answer to every question on earth] I was trying to be on the same level as God. And, at last the Holy Spirit freed me to say it: Father, I am going to accept this as Your Word – by faith!”
“When Satan strikes we are to look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ, lay hold of His Word, and say with the Apostle Paul, ‘I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25)
NOTE: The video clip from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” is below.
Some quotes were taken from Borgman’s & Ventura’s “Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick