THE SHIELD OF FAITH
“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
Faith is the fourth spiritual weapon of the soldier of God. Paul compares it to the shield of the Roman soldier, a weapon about 1.35 meters high and 75 cm wide. It serves to protect the essential parts of the body on the battlefield. Paul urges everyone to wield the spiritual shield of faith to defend against the flaming arrows of the enemy.
What are the flaming arrows of the enemy?
In Africa, we understand quite well what the flaming arrows of the enemy are. Among the arrows mentioned by Paul are what we call in Africa mystical arrows. These arrows are used by the servants of Satan on earth to kill, destroy, enchant; in short, to do evil.
During my travels, I counted about a hundred types of mystical arrows used for various purposes. They can induce sleep or drowsiness; cause memory loss; create a strong desire for fornication; induce madness; turn someone into a beggar; cause cancer or terrible ulcers. Sometimes, children in environments where such weapons are produced are initiated into using them for amusement. During an evangelization session where I was preaching, children present launched a mystical arrow at my interpreter, who collapsed. But we prayed for him, and he was delivered.
A Western missionary who did not believe in the existence of mystical arrows was hit during an evangelization campaign in a locality in Burkina Faso. He fell ill and was taken home. After all possible examinations, nothing was found, but he did not recover. A Burkinabé missionary who was traveling in his country met him and was informed of his illness and the circumstances in which he had contracted it. Through discernment in prayer, he knew that the illness of the Western missionary came from a mystical arrow. The Burkinabé missionary held a deliverance prayer session, and he was healed.
In another evangelization outing, the guitarist of my musical group was hit by a mystical arrow and collapsed. Another time, one of my singers received the attack. All were delivered through prayer. I had warned both of them that they had to bring the shield of faith with them to the battlefield, which they neglected to do.
The question here is not whether you have faith. The question is: have you taken your faith as a shield? But what is faith, in fact? 2 Chronicles 16:9 gives us the profound meaning:
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.“
Faith is placing 100% trust in God. The Lord looks down from the heavens to see who has placed all their trust in Him, whose heart is blameless toward Him. Faith is believing that even what we do not see is real and exists; it is also believing that all the promises of God will undoubtedly come to pass. Hebrews 11:1:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Faith is an inner conviction that I cannot show. It is then a demonstration through works: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (James 2:14). Without works, our faith is in vain. Without faith, we cannot please God.
The most often cited example of faith is that manifested by Moses before the Red Sea when the Egyptians were pursuing the people of God. Indeed, in Exodus 14:13, Moses said to the people who were desperate:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.“
While the people manifested their fear and regretted leaving Egypt, Moses demonstrated his faith when no sign, no Divine message prompted him. Behind him and the people was the Egyptian army, and in front of them was the sea, impassable. He showed complete trust in God, with the firm inner conviction that God could not abandon them after bringing them out of Egypt.
Considering Moses’ faith, God intervened, telling him to stretch out his rod over the sea to make a passage for the people to cross. God wants people who trust Him entirely, regardless of the circumstances. God does not care about the context or circumstances. He is not impressed in the least.
Only His will matters. What He wants, He does. While people worry about their incurable diseases like cancer, AIDS, and others, God needs people who trust Him entirely to perform miracles. He will not abandon us if we put our trust in Him.
In Numbers 13, Moses sends twelve spies to explore Canaan, the land God promised them. Upon returning from their mission, ten of them acknowledge that Canaan is a land flowing with milk and honey, but according to them, Canaan is inaccessible because of its giant inhabitants, the sons of Anak. Faced with these inhabitants, the ten envoys saw themselves as grasshoppers in their own eyes.
For them, it was impossible to conquer such a land. Caleb, one of the two remaining envoys, refuted this thesis and said instead that Canaan was within their reach. But the first information had already created desolation and discouragement among the people, who spent the whole night crying and complaining to Moses, accusing him of deceiving them.
In reality, the ten envoys were hit by the flaming arrow of unbelief that Satan threw at them. They infected the rest of the people with this unbelief, and God was forced to exterminate them to stop the contamination of the people.
In Luke 1:5, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were people who feared God, but they had no children and were advanced in age. One day, God sent an angel to announce to Zechariah that his wife would give birth to a child, but Zechariah did not believe this announcement despite the fact that he and his wife prayed to God to have a child.
Because of his unbelief, he was punished and became mute. This punishment lasted until the time when the child was to be named during his circumcision, precisely eight days after his birth.
These two examples, namely the exploration of Canaan and the granting of prayers to Zechariah and his wife, show one thing: God does not like unbelief and often punishes those who are guilty of it. Besides these punishments, unbelievers face all kinds of problems because they are under the manipulation of the devil.
Take up the shield of faith at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances to stop all the flaming arrows of the enemy. He will always try to make you doubt God and the assurance He gives you by launching arrows of unbelief, confusion, discouragement, doubt, etc. So Ephesians 6:16 says:
“Above all, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
This text is an extract from the book ” Spiritual Weapons” written by Prophet Emmanuel SAWADOGO.