Faith as a Shield
In the course of any given day, in addition to dealing with the challenges of work and home and neighborhood that surround us externally, we do battle with many interior thoughts and feelings that spontaneously invade our hearts. As we sift through them, we become aware that at least some are not inspired by God nor do they lead us to God. But what do we do with them then?
The Letter to the Ephesians gives some practical advice. Using the image of a soldier dressed for battle, the Letter advises us, “In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield.” The image suggests that faith, when “held up,” can protect us against assaults from those unhelpful and unholy inspirations and temptations. Often we think of faith as something we “have” (or “don’t have”). But Ephesians pushes us to understand faith as something not just passively possessed, but something actively exercised. The image of holding up a shield implies actively “using” faith to “go against” the interior thoughts and feelings that we know lead us away from God.
How might we use faith as a shield? When confronted by feelings of fear and thoughts of “I am in over my head,” we might simply say internally, “Jesus, I trust in you!” When dealing with feelings of aloneness and thoughts of “No one understands,” we might recall a scripture passage such as “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.” When the Lord seems far away and doubts plague us, we might cry out, “I believe, help my unbelief!”
God’s word challenges us today: “In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield!”
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