Paul writes that we need to be strong in the Lord: He furthermore says: Why? The following verse gives us the answer. Paul continues with his analogy of a soldier's armor and weapons. I've never been in the military but I can easily imagine that a soldier who does not go on the offense, is never going to win the battle. Is the armor important? Absolutely! That's our protection against the onslaught of the enemy. That's what serves to protect our spiritual mind, heart, vital organs, etc. However, simply wearing your armor will not give you victory over the enemy. Your armor may allow you to stand your ground. It may allow you to even progress a few paces. It will not cut your enemy down. In order to do that, you need to use your weapons.
Paul talks about these weapons in verses 16 and 17. Your shield is a weapon? I think so. You see, the shields of ancient Rome weren't flat. They were long and curved in order to surround the body. Pick up a piece of paper, curl the right and left sides slightly towards you and you get the idea. They also did something else rather unique with the shields. A group of soldiers would gather closely together and raise their shields horizontally thus forming an overhead barrier or cover against weapons being shot from city walls. Hollywood has shown this operation in some movies and it really looks pretty impressive. The word "tank" comes to mind as you see them moving forward against their enemies. It was extremely intimidating and when you see this you are reminded of the power and resourcefulness of the Roman army.
Our shield is called Faith and our sword is called The Word of God. These are the weapons God has given us and they will do us absolutely no good if we do not use them. Can you imagine an armored soldier going into battle and when confronted by the enemy they simply drop their sword and shield onto the ground? Then they proceed to stand there and let the enemy pummel them with his weapons? We would think they were crazy and yet, I think that far too often we try to do that as Christians. No wonder so many of us go around with a "poor-me" attitude. No wonder we feel overwhelmed. No wonder we have no joy. No wonder we constantly feel like we're fighting a losing battle. Pick up your weapons and use them!
Study God's Word and hide it in your heart! When the enemy comes at you with words of mockery, discouragement, lies, etc. you can whip out that sword and slash each and every word which comes out of his mouth. Instead of hearing the words of the enemy, you will hear the Word of God spoken in truth!
Fill your mind with words and stories of faith rather than discouragement. Document faith milestones in your own life. Some people journal and keep a written record of these. I keep a "faith journal" in my mind with a "photo album". I like to get this out and flip through it on a regular basis...not just when I feel my shield is getting a bit shaky. You need to do this all of the time.
Seek out people of faith. This is really important. Why would you want to surround yourself with people who have a defeatist attitude? Attitudes are contagious you know. If you surround yourself with people who are always discouraged, you will become discouraged. If you surround yourself with people who walk by faith rather than by sight, you too will find your faith growing. I love to read biographies of people who have lived lives of faith. I love to hear testimonies of people who have stories of faith to share. It lifts me up! Hmmm...that's one of the purposes of ChristianBlog.com isn't it?
Share your testimonies with others every chance you get. Not only will their faith increase, yours will too as you are reinforcing in your mind what God has done.
These are just a few ways in which we can ensure that our weapons remain in our hands rather than on the ground at our feet. Whatever you do, don't drop your shield and sword!
Never forget who you are...
Great reminder, K! One of my favorite verses speaks of one of David's mighty men:
2Sa 23:10 but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword.
When we're in battle, may our hands freeze to the sword of the spirit!!
Very good and practical information! Needless to say, the battle we are in is not for a day or a week or a year. Until the Lord returns we must take up the whole armor of God and rise to the occasion and STAND. More than anything else, that is purpose of the Ephesians 6 dialoge on the armor. We put on the whole armor so that we can STAND against and having done all STAND.
Thank you for the great post.