Don the Shield
The Sword is always in our hearts and minds—it may not need to be drawn, but it is always close at hand. The shield, however, is always at hand, ready at the slightest attack to guard our bodies from the attack of the Evil One. I have, throughout my short life, had the flaming arrows rain down upon me from all sides. Sin is always in my life and sometimes I am fast enough to decipher and analyze the attack, but, sometimes I am caught unaware—or I just give in to the sin and am struck with the flaming arrows of the evil one. I do not know if you are aware that there are other types of arrows in this spiritual warfare that we fight and these other types of arrows that afflict us are just as devastating as the flaming arrow. The shield, however, can and will protect us from them.
The Flaming Arrow
I mentioned the flaming arrows that devastate our lives. Why are these so powerful and potent against us? The flaming arrow was intended to ignite the wooden shields, the fields, the doors and walls of the enemy. These arrows would strike and chaos would incur, because the enemy was not only trying to defend against the attacks of the enemy, but now we are dealing with the flames—flames that would weaken and destroy the outer defenses. Just as in our lives, the flames of hatred and envy, wrath and jealousy and numerous other weaknesses can breakdown the walls of our defenses.
The Barbed Arrow
The barbed arrow was a nasty arrow that was designed to inflict greater wounds that would be hard or impossible to mend. They would sink into the flesh of the enemy and when they were pulled out or pushed through they would rip the innards of the opponent more than the initial puncture. (And, before I go on, let me specify that all the arrow could be combined, such as a flaming barbed arrow. Just as the sins can compound, these attacks with the arrows can be combined in the most devious of ways to afflict us.) The barbed arrows of the Evil One are the wounds that fester. With the betrayal of a friend, the divorces we endure, the abuse of our children, the barbed arrow sinks deep and festers and, if not taken care of properly, will lead us to almost incurable wounds.
The Blunt Arrow
The Blunt Arrow was the arrow that was used to incapacitate the enemy without causing serious damage, either to be able to come in for the kill personally or to capture and interrogate—sound familiar? The devil does this every day in our lives. Either with gossip or betrayal, adultery, pornography, greed, violence etc… these are the arrows that most frequently bombard our hearts and minds when we read, go to the movies, watch TV or just surf the web. They are the arrows that strike us unaware and keep striking us until we become weak enough to not be able to pull up our shields and defenses—then we are struck with the more deadly weapons of the enemy’s warfare.
The Poison Arrow
The poison arrow is usually combined with the other arrow types. When we are struck with the poison, it festers—and keeps festering while we become dizzy, weak, lackadaisical and sometimes the poison will lead us to kill others or cause self injury and sometimes even our own deaths. The poison of the enemy comes in both slow and fast-acting venoms. The slow acting type has symptoms that will come over time and creep upon us without our knowledge; the fast acting causes us great distress and sometimes we are just not strong enough to recover by our own means. The poison arrow is one of the most influential and deadly the enemy has to offer.
The Broad Head Arrow
The broad head has either two or four blades and is designed to cause large gaping wounds that cause severe bleeding. These are used to bring down large targets and to penetrate defenses. The wounds caused by the arrow are very hard to mend and it is critical to get aid as soon as they are inflicted. The broad head can usually be easily removed, but once they are removed, they need immediate attention or death will surely incur. The enemy’s broad head attacks are when governments of the world and churches use their power and authority to cause us great pain. The broad head is usually the pride and arrogance of the enemy and always accompanied by greed and money. These arrows have been known to separate and destroy families, churches, towns and cities. They have been known to topple governments and separate the faithful from the unfaithful. These arrows also put our Lord and Savior to death on the cross.
The Invisible Arrow
The invisible arrow is the arrow that I personally have had inflict me throughout my life. These arrows, by definition, are not seen when they are loosed. They come into the heart—you can feel them—you cannot grasp them—no matter how hard you try, you cannot remove them! These arrows are the weapons of Satan that strike when we have our defenses down and put away. The times when we have ran from our faith and our internal struggle to find God in the mess of the world. These arrows are the ones that strike me when I am at my lowest and come in and wound me, preparing me for the kill. I believe not only Christians, but anyone who has ever lived has experienced these arrows. The invisible arrow is the most deadly when they are poisoned or broad headed or flaming or barbed—or the worst and most insidious kind, when they are all of the above—and let me tell you all: THEY ARE REAL!
As devastating as the arrows are, they all have many things in common. First, they all come from the same source. We know it and we can use this bit of strategic intelligence to look for the attack. The rain of arrows always comes first to soften the enemy for the foot soldier and cavalry to attack. We can and need to be prepared. Second, and most importanatly: ALL OF THE ARROWS CAN BE STOPPED! None of the arrows launched are unstoppable! If we would just keep the Shield of Faith prepared and ready at all times, we would be ready for any attack. Whether sickness or disease, famine or plague, even death itself cannot and does not have authority over us. Faith is the backbone of our lives. Faith is what drives us forward into the war to protect our brothers and sisters from the onslaught of the enemy. Faith is, according to Jesus, in two varieties: Great and little. Those who had great faith were healed and brought to life. Those who had little faith, lacked and doubted. However, Jesus knew that all of us went through the times of great and little faith and for that He gave us the Holy Spirit to help and guide us. Jesus told us that if we just had the faith of a mustard seed (one of the smallest of seeds that can transform into huge trees) we could move mountains—imagine what we could do if we had the faith of a mountain!
Saint Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that we are to walk by faith, not by sight. We need to believe in the resurrection and live by the Word of God. Every person of faith throughout history had those times of doubt and fear but always kept their faith. Saint Paul tells us in 1st Timothy that those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk get drunk at night, but we who are of the day are to be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation! Saint Paul constantly referring to the warrior and soldier using his armament for multiple uses, this time the breastplate is also faith protecting the heart. We are to be become the light to the word!
Do not think just because we are Christians we are not called to fight—we are called to fight the good fight of faith. We are called to arms and we are called to be ready at all times. In the Book of Hebrews, Saint Paul tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Without faith we cannot do anything. Without faith we cannot protect ourselves when the real persecution comes! Let us don the Shield of Faith and be prepared, watching and holding firm to the promises of Christ’s return.
The final thought on the Shield of Faith is the use of the shield for offensive attack. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not telling anyone to use our faith to bash others, but we CAN use the shield to bash the enemy forces. We can use our faith to drive back the demons and hold them at bay. We can use our faith to batter the opposing forces and keep them pummelled down into the dust. We are not only defensive and submissive warriors of faith, but we are called to arms and are called to put the enemy on the run. Christ gave us this power and might! Christ gave us authority over possession, sickness and evil—we need to just have the faith to use it. We need to slam our shields against the tides of filth and muck that the Evil One uses against us.
Our faith is built strong, but our faith combined with an army of Christians is invincible. Our faith combined with the authority of Christ is a force that demons tremble at. Do not lay down or fear the enemy. Do not strive to be good—strive to be the best!