Dealing with challenges and using the shield of faith
Ephesians 6:16 – In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
These are trying times.
These are uncertain times.
All over the world, life as we know it has come to a standstill as the world battles the novel Covid-19 virus. For many people, physical distancing and lockdown orders have totally deprived them of their means of livelihood – jobs lost, businesses shutdown – the future looks bleak. For others, the fear of contracting the virus or losing their lives or a loved one to the virus is their greatest worry. For others, the front-line workers who man the grocery stores, drive the buses, medical personnel – nurses, doctors, paramedics and care givers in long term care homes all across the world – dressing up each day to face the battle as they do their job requires tremendous courage. The underlying thread to all is FEAR!
Hebrews 11:1 (MSG): “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” The NLT version says: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for, it is the evidence of things we cannot see”.
Reading Hebrews 11 further, reveals instances of people who had clung to a promise totally different from their immediate reality, because they had faith in God – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the people of Israel, even Rahab – they all believe what God had promised them.
What has God promised you today?
Spend this time wisely digging into the Word of God, extracting the promises that He has spoken concerning you and yours then hold firmly to them.
Psalm 91:4(NLT) – “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” God’s promises are our armor and protection from the spirit of fear and from all the flaming darts of the evil one.
As children of God, this is not the time to wallow in self-pity. This is not the time to cower in our homes, terrified of the COVID-19. Rather, as we stay home, declare God’s promises upon ourselves, our families, our nations and the world as a whole.
I challenge us all to set out time in the upcoming days to strengthen our faith – let’s build up each other’s faith. Jude 1:20-21(NLT) says “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourself safe in God’s love.”
Build each other up! This is not the time to be isolated. Reach out to someone and build each other up. Let us all challenge ourselves to do this.
Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit! Spend quality time in worship. For many of us with very busy careers and/or family lives, our one major excuse for not spending quality time in the presence of the Lord daily has always been no time. Well, now all we have is time. Make the most of it. Picture God as your first love and rediscover your passion for the things that make his heart skip for joy. Pray. For you. For your family. For people who are battling the virus. For their loved ones. For our countries. For our leaders. Pray.
Listen to the word of God. On repeat. Use the audio bible it is very effective. Find sermons and listen to them. Chew on the word of God. Romans 10:17(ESV) says Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Filter what you listen to generally. Dwell on things that would edify your spirit – Philippians 4 is very instructive in this regard and summarizes this point perfectly.
Philippians 4: 4-8 (MSG)
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse….”
Faith is an important component of the armor of God. It is our shield. It is what helps us extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. One of the flaming arrows used by the evil one is Fear. For a Roman soldier, a shield was an object used for his protection. It was strapped to his arm and used to deflect attacks. It could also be used as an offensive weapon to knock out his enemies by force. When doubts or fears creep in, use the shield of faith to protect your heart! Shalom!