Ephesians 6:16 – In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
How often do we forget the foundations of faith in Jesus in the troublesome times? I know that in these times I feel completely fragile. I feel the chaos that surrounds me is so thick that it becomes hard to breathe. I, like Peter when he started to walk toward Jesus on the water, take my eyes of Jesus. My attention doesn’t naturally turn toward faith in these times. My natural tendency is be overwhelmed with the anxiety and worry.
In the same way, during times of trouble or attacks from the evil one, the natural tendency of my flesh is to get so burdened by the weight of guilt from the temptation. The attacks come and keep coming, my flesh fails and sin overtakes me. I get down and begin to feel worthless. I wonder how anyone can love a person like me, so full of evil. So full of a flesh likely to fail and chase after worthless earthly things. In these times, I cannot wait for heaven where sin is no more.
I am thankful for what Christ has done in words I can’t express. All too often I take that precious and priceless gift for granted. I don’t delight in God like I should. I make prayer more of a box to check off than remember the awe inspiring gift of being before the Almighty Creator of everything. I forget that I can call the one and only God, the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords, my father. The Father. How often do we not delight in prayer or in the Word of God? How often do we feel the joy of salvation nowhere near us.
In a scene from a movie, I picture hundreds of flaming arrows being shot at all of us each day. The imagery of us being shot with these flaming arrows piercing our flesh. The shock on our face as our jaw drops. The puzzled look as to what is happening. Then another arrow. We fall to our knees as it feels like we can’t breathe. The hurt has taken over. Feeling almost paralyzed then one more. As the devil attacks, on our own we are helpless. We have been defeated. We cannot win. The battle is over. We fall to the ground with arrows sticking out of our body.
Yet time and time again, Jesus comes and picks us up. He removes the arrows from our lifeless body and gives us life. He tells us He loves us even though we failed. Discipline may come. He steadies us and carries us. Then, He reminds us what He left us with. He reminds us of faith. Faith in Him and who He is. Faith in what He has done. Faith in who He has made us and who we are now. While we may and will fail, He picks us up and brushes off the dirt. As we lay down our lives to Him, just as He rode that colt into Jerusalem, so He rides into our kingdom.
While we fail, the amazing thing is that we are loved and still called God’s children. When God looks upon us, He looks with a smile because of the glory of Christ and what Christ has done in our lives. As the flaming arrows of evil are shot at you each day, each hour, remember the shield that we have. While it may be a daunting task to look at this flaming arrow coming your way, we can remember what Christ did. He gave victory for us. He has let us overcome. Sometimes, many times actually, you won’t see the arrows come. All the sudden you will feel the sting of sin and temptation, but the shield of faith will extinguish it. Don’t try to fight it or put it out on your own. Call on Christ and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
I know it is hard and it isn’t our natural tendency but this is one of those things that if we ask God to help us, how glad He will be to help us in these moments. How good it will be to have God teach us to take our eyes off the pain, the attacks and be focused on Him. For when we focus on God and who He is, when we remember what He has done, the power of those flaming arrows loses their power and no longer can they harm us.
The attacks and persecution will come every day. It will come in all shapes and sizes. They will also come from unexpected sources but God’s grace is enough! The grace of God will always be enough and it is more than enough. Even though the attacks wear us down and burden us, God reminds us to “…boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Delight in God. Delight in who He is and be satisfied in the fullness of life that He gives. What a promise! He will not leave us, even though the attacks will make us feel alone and fragile, He is here with us, for us and strengthening us!
I want to leave you with a beautiful promise that comes from a prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17. This comes from John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” Jesus is for us. God will never forsake us. He is so patient and gracious and merciful and true. He fills us. He knows our every move. He dances over us. And Jesus wants His children to be where He is and to see HIS GLORY! I pray that we will have the spiritual awareness and awake-ness to sense how God is revealing Himself to us this day!