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Ephesians 6:16 - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles
Victory Action #6 Live In Faith
16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. - Ephesians 6:15
Welcome back to our study called, "The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles." There are times in life when we face severe temptations and even when life's problems seem to knock us down. Bad things do happen to good people. The question then becomes, "how are we to respond?" Paul's primary directive is found in Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."
Thankfully, he teaches us how to be strong in the Lord. He instructed us with Victory Action #1-#5; Put on the Armor of God, Stand Firm, Live in Truth, Live in Righteousness, and Live in The Gospel of Peace. Today, we will consider Victory Action #6 Live in Faith.
Our enemy, the devil, will attack you with every weapon in his arsenal. He will lie to you, attempt to cause you to doubt, try to make you full of fear, tempt you to response and react to others according to your sin nature, and seduce you with the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh. He is roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). He wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
In Ephesians 6, Paul provides us the picture of the devil shooting flaming arrows at believers. If you were under attack by a deluge of fiery arrows, you would be tempted to be discouraged, if not defeated. But, the winning strategy to winning life's battles is that we can take up the shield of faith in these moments. We will then extinguish the flaming arrows and render them powerless. The key is to take up the shield of faith.
Shield of Faith
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." When we consider the shield of faith as objective faith, or theology, which is the study of God, we can be sure that God is who He says He is. His character is constant; He is good. He was and is and is to come. He is, the Great I Am. We can be certain that His will is done regardless of the circumstances and regardless of what others are doing. We can trust in Him at all times because He alone is God.
We know from God's Word, the Bible, that God loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. The Bible reveals the character and nature of God. We read that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, that He died on our behalf to pay the penalty of our sins, and that He rose again on the third day. He conquered sin and death and reigns victoriously in heaven to the glory of the God the Father. We know that evil has authority on earth for a time but, that Christ will return to judge the world and fulfill the Father's will.
This means that when you face life's temptations and trials, you can stand firm in the objective knowledge of who God is. When you are obedient to Jesus Christ then you can resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7).
Thankfully, there is more to our interaction with God than just objective faith. When you take objective faith and draw closer to God, you will discover that God the Father and God the Son want a relationship with you; a friendship. Objective faith is the basis on which you can build relational faith. You are "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" because you have experienced the character and actions of your friend.
The Bible says that you can walk with Jesus, talk and listen, and be lead by His Holy Spirit. You can now read God's Word and then provide examples of how God moved in your life just as He did as recorded in the Bible.
The devil will shoot his flaming arrows of doubt and fear in attempt to cause you to be overwhelmed by your situation and then quit. But, you can stand firm in your faith of who God is and how God moved in your life. For example, whenever I face times of doubt in my life because of poor health, I stand firm that God is in control, that He is a God who heals, and then I recount the times in my life and in my family that God did give physical healing.
Standing firm with the shield of objective faith and relational faith gives you the confidence in the Lord to defend yourself from the attacks of the enemy. When the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the enemy, they could have been overwhelmed by fear and doubt. If fact, the servant did exactly that! But, Elisha had faith in the Lord and told his servant, "'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.'" The Bible then says, "then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." Elisha's faith extinguished the flaming arrows of doubt and fear and taught the lesson that God is greater than our enemies.
I am reminded, as well, of the three Hebrew men who stood for their faith in God even though it resulted in them being threatened with death by the most powerful man in their day. In Daniel chapter 3 we read the account of how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved God more than life itself. They replied confidently to the Babylonian king in this way: "'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
The king did throw them into the fiery furnace only to discover that in the middle of the flames was a fourth man. That man with the Lord! The king then praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. By standing with the shield of faith, the three Hebrew men extinguished all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
We can take up the shield of faith with complete confidence in the Lord because Scriptures such as I John 4:4 are true: "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
Extinguish all the flaming arrows
The Bible teaches the truth that when we act in a manner that pleases the Lord then there is no weapon forged against us that will prevail (Isaiah 54:17). Galatians 5 teaches us about walking with the Holy Spirit of God. When the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives then the fruit of the Spirit will be evident. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The verse then says, "Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:23). This means that there are no restrictions, no limitations, no thought or temptation that can overcome the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God.
Life's trials and temptations happen to everyone. The devil will use every weapon he has to cause you to doubt, fear, and to walk away from your belief in God. But, if you take up the shield of faith ... objective faith, relational faith, confident in the Lord faith, ... then you will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And there is nothing the evil one can do except to run away.
Dear Lord, please help me to take up the shield of faith, especially in those times in life when I am tempted and facing doubt and fear. My hope and trust is in you, O Lord. Be glorified in my life! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For You to Consider
Why can we be certain that God's will is done?
What is objective faith and relational faith?
Share a story of how the Lord helped you through a trial. Share how God will use this experience to encourage you when you face future difficulties.
Why was the attitude of the three Hebrew men during their trial important to overcoming the evil intent of the King? What attitude should you have as you face your trial?
What does faith do to the flaming arrows? How can you find such faith?
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- Ephesians 6:15 - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles - Part 5
- Ephesians 6:14b - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles - Part 4
- Ephesians 6:14a - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles - Part 3
- Ephesians 6:13 - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles - Part 2
- Ephesians 6:10-12 - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles - Part 1
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