“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.“- Ephesians 6:10-20
Today we continue our armor of God series with the Shield of Faith. Up until now we have discussed the belt, breastplate, and shoes and they all have one thing in common. For the most part those pieces of armor hold themselves up. The Roman soldier is not able to do the same with a shield because it requires a soldier to hold it up using his arm. Not to do so would render it useless, and will lead to a swift death in battle.
The Roman shield was called a scutum and was a very large, rectangular object. In the center was a huge metal knob called a “boss.” The shield was slightly curved and was able to deflect arrows, and other attacks with ease. The “boss” was also able to serve as a limited offensive weapon in close combat. (Some sources I used for this article claim this is the origin if the term “like a boss”.)
So how does the imagery of the shield help us in our faith? For part of the answer a look at the epistle to the Hebrews is helpful. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If faith is what this verse claims it is then it is more than emotion, it is irrefutable, and real. Romans 8:24-25 states, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Faith is real, but that does not mean it is without difficulty. When we first become Christian we have a lot of questions, and some things are hard to understand, but we keep learning and asking questions because we want to strengthen our faith.
A Roman soldier did not start out being able to hold his huge shield for long periods of time. He exercised, trained, and he had a superior officer over him to show him how to improve. It is the same with us. If we are not in daily prayer, scripture reading, and of a Christ-centered church then how will we be strong enough to hold up our shield? Our faith is the first line of defense against the enemy, just like a shield is to the Roman soldier. Is your faith, your shield, firmly in Jesus Christ? If it isn’t who, or what, is it in? When your shield is not faith in Christ it will soon be penetrated. Then the rest of your armor is at risk.