Armor of God // Part 5
Over the last few times together, we have been talking about how to win the battles of life. The Bible clearly tells us that to be victorious we must be prepared. Let’s quickly go back over what the Bible says are necessary components to victory:
- Be strong in the Lord
- Put on the full armor of God
- Know who your enemy is
If you haven’t been with us, we have been studying the armor of God: the individual pieces, what they are and how to apply them. The last couple of weeks, we’ve looked at the armor that covers our vital organs. Today, we will look at something called, “the shield of faith”. Let’s look at the verse speaking of the shield of faith again; this time in the Amplified Version of the Bible: “Lift up over all the (covering) shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked (one).”
It will help in our study to have some examples to look at.
In the days that these Bible verses were written, the greatest fighting force on the earth were the Roman Legions. They were well equipped, well trained, and were led by good strategists. As you can see, Roman soldiers used a large shield in warfare. The shield was about two feet across and about three feet in length. Early shields would have been made of wood covered in leather or animal skin. Later, the Romans began the use of metal shields such as the ones you see. The Roman legionnaire was trained to use his shield not just as a defense but as a weapon.
The Roman legionnaire would keep his shield in front of himself at all times. When he encountered the enemy in hand to hand combat, the Roman soldier would push the enemy with his shield. This gave the Roman the advantage of directing how the fight went. He could push the enemy one direction or another. He could push his shield toward the hand in which his enemy held his weapon. He could use his shield to dislodge the weapon in the hand of the one he was fighting. This made it very hard for the enemy to inflict a deadly blow to the legionnaire and it allowed the legionnaire to get the enemy in position for his strike.
Just like the legionnaire, our faith is not just defensive but offensive. We use our faith as a weapon, pushing the enemy with it and taking the offensive through the use of our faith. We don’t just hide behind our faith – shut up in our homes, waiting the battle ends. We advance toward the enemy and use our faith as a weapon to push the enemy back and to cause him to go exactly where we want him to go! The Ephesians verse about the shield of faith also speaks of protection against flaming missiles. Often, the enemy army would first attack the Roman legions with flaming arrows. This was intended to inflict much pain without the loss of manpower. It was intended to cause breaches in the ranks of the Legions so that the enemy could get in front and behind the Roman soldiers at the same time.
Back when wooden shields were used, the legionnaire would spend time before a battle soaking his shield in water. The made it difficult for flaming arrows to catch his shield on fire and make him have to drop it. Say to your neighbor: “Don’t drop your faith!” One very important thing to notice here: Roman legionnaires fought as a unit. They were never more than three feet apart from one another. If one soldier fell, the legions were taught to close ranks. No enemy was coming between them to get behind them or to get past the shield. The shield worked best in tandem with other legionnaires. When the enemy shot flaming arrows at the legion, the legionnaires would gather into what was the tortoise formation. Working together, they protected each other from the flaming missiles of the enemy.
When you are under attack, don’t be alone. If the enemy begins to assail you with accusations, slander, character assassination, coupled with attacks against your person, finances, destiny, or family, it can be tough not to get flanked and wounded. Fellow warriors can watch your back and they can shout encouragement and orders to you during the battle. Your weaponry is superior to the enemies but, he is very experienced and is a master of battlefield deception and he is ruthless. That’s why the Lord gave us a command to not forsake the assembly of ourselves together. We fight more effectively as a unit.
- Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
- 1 John 5:4 (NIV)
- Hebrews 11:32-34 (NIV)
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