We are in active spiritual warfare. The attacks come from media, culture, and history revisionists…not to mention our own temptations, desires, and lusts. Knowing this, I pray through Ephesians 6, carefully mentioning each part of my spiritual armor as though I can manufacture them by my words. I am slowly learning that, while this is a good place to start, our armor goes much deeper than that. It is NOT something we can instantly produce. Rather, it is something God produces for us as He helps us walk in a life of obedience.
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Ephesians 6:14-16 NLT
The next part of our armor is the shield of FAITH. The modern church seems to struggle with this one. In the days of the early church, Christians saw miracles left and right. The blind received their sight. The dead were brought back to life. The lame received strength to walk. Few of us see those faith-building miracles today. They seem to be relegated to the missionaries who spend their lives in the deep jungles of foreign continents.
But whose fault is that? Did God stop delivering? Or did we stop asking?
We must ask for faith.
In Jesus’ earthly ministry, people flocked to Him for healing and deliverance. One father was particularly desperate for his son to be delivered from the demons that threatened his life and sanity…
He said, “Since he was a child. The spirit has often thrown him into fire and into water to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us!” Jesus told him, “‘If you are able?’ Everything is possible for the person who believes!” With tears flowing, the child’s father at once cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” Mark 9:21b-24 ISV
Logically, his statement doesn’t make sense. He confessed belief in Jesus in the same breath he asked Jesus to cure his unbelief. His mustard-seed faith wasn’t very much, but it was all he had. Humbly, he begged Jesus to grow it into enough.
We must have enough faith.
How much is enough? Enough to produce obedience and action. While we can never do enough good works to earn salvation, we cannot have a healthy faith without it producing action.
You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear. Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without actions is worthless? Our ancestor Abraham was justified by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar, wasn’t he? You see that his faith worked together with what he did, and by his actions his faith was made complete.James 2:19-22 ISV
It is not enough to mentally agree with God’s Word. We must believe it enough to obey it.
It is not enough to enjoy the culture of our church circles. We must act upon the faith we have learned.
It is not enough to believe God’s promises. We must act on them.
If real faith produces obedience, then our shield of faith is not one of mental agreement, but of action. It is the obedience that our faith inspires that actually quenches Satan’s fiery darts.
We offer our faith-inspired obedience as an act of worship.
God did not just give us a shield to neutralize Satan’s darts, He also packed in a secret super-power. This added layer almost seems too good to be true. When our faith produces obedience, that obedience unlocks God’s favor!
The person who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I, too, will love him and reveal myself to him.John 14:21 ISV
Just as I gain a tenderness for my child who sweetly obeys, the Father has a special love for those who keep His commandments. He unleashes His favor on those who love Him enough to sacrifice their wants and desires to please Him. Obedience is God’s love-language!
True faith inspires obedience. Obedience unlocks even more love in God’s heart. What a divinely-powered shield He has given us! Let’s take advantage of all its super-powers.