Ephesians 6:16

In Ephesians 6:16 Paul continues his discussion around the armor of God we are to put on so we can stand firm. He has just finished telling us about the three items we have:

  1. Belt of truth
  2. Breastplace of righteousness
  3. Shoes shod with the gospel of peace

These three things are part of our faith as a Christ Follower – we “have” them already. Paul told us of armor to have. Some of the armor we must wear all the time and have as a standing foundation. Therefore having comes first. We must be rooted in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the “combat boots” of the gospel. Yet now Paul will deal with aspects of the armor we are to take at the necessary moments of spiritual warfare and opportunity.

Paul shifts his focus to things we must take in addition to those we already have. These are in addition and require us to actively bring them along. “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.” Faith is represented as a shield, protecting us from the fiery darts of the wicked one, those persistent efforts of demonic foes to weaken us through fear and unbelief.

Guzik explains “The shield Paul describes is not the small round one, but the large, oblong shield that could protect the whole body. In ancient warfare, these fiery darts were launched in great numbers at the beginning of an attack. The idea was not only to injure the enemy, but to shoot at him at all sides with a massive number of arrows, and thus to confuse and panic the enemy.” We need to be prepared for how the enemy will come after us. It is usually not a head on full force attack. Rather it comes in many different ways, all designed to take us off our walk with Christ. Thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, and lies – all of these can be hurled at us by Satan as fiery darts. Faith turns them back.

The enemy wants to knock us off our walk. Bruce explains “Even when such a missile was caught by the shield and did not penetrate to the body, says Livy, it caused panic, because it was thrown when well alight and its motion through the air made it blaze most fiercely, so that the soldier was tempted to get rid of his burning shield and expose himself to the enemy’s spear-thrusts. But the shield of faith not only catches the incendiary devices but extinguishes them.” So the first thing we have to take with us is the shield of faith, which we must bring to the fight so we are able to stand firm. The enemy has a goal of taking us out of our relationship so we are more vulnerable to the attack that is coming. The flaming darts are designed to open us up to further attack, and the shield is our protection from that.

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