Weapons Training: The Shield of Faith

(7th article in The Armor of God Series)

No one builds a building without designing it first.  You need to know the design in order to know what to build.

No one deviates from the design either.  The construction crew simply builds what the blueprints call for.  They build what the designer designates.

God has designed the universe, the earth and us in it.  He had a plan.  A purpose.  As part of that plan, He’s given each of us a particular purpose.

As we discussed in Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes From the Gospel of Peace, our job is to simply discover the works God prepared in advance for us to do.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in ADVANCE for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

The Role Satan Play’s in Your Life

Satan’s goal is to keep you from doing the works God prepared in advance for you to do.  

He wants to destroy your TRUST in God as the Master Designer of your life.  His wants to defeat your WILL.  He wants you to give up based on the circumstances you see in your life.

Here are at least 3 things Satan does to defeat your Will:

1.  He paints God as a liar based on the circumstances of your life.

2.  He tries to get you to carry out your mission in your own strength.

3.  He wants you to believe that you’ve made so many mistakes that God couldn’t possibly use you.

Let’s look at these one at a time.

Satan Paints God as a Liar

He does this by keeping our PERSPECTIVE one-dimensional.

What do I mean by this?  Consider the following story.

A farmer had one horse that he used for tilling his fields.  One day the horse escaped into the hills.  When the farmer’s neighbors heard about it, they sympathized with the man over his bad luck.  “Bad luck?  Good luck?  Who knows.” said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills.  This time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck.  “Good luck?  Bad luck?  Who knows.” said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg.  Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck.  Not the farmer, who replied, “Bad luck?  Good luck?  Who knows.”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war.  When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they let him stay.  Everyone was very happy at the farmer’s good luck.

Good luck?  Bad luck?  GOD KNOWS!

The point of the story is that no matter what your earthly perspective, God is in control.  That’s because God views your life from a higher perspective.

Satan will try to make it SEEM like your life isn’t going according to God’s plan— but it is, IF you DON’T allow your perspective to become one dimensional.  Just like the above story, you have to SEE what God is doing so you can cooperate with it.

That’s what FAITH does and why we are discussing the Shield of Faith in this session.

Faith is the ability to see that which is not immediately apparent.  Faith shields you from Satan’s lies.  If God says He designed your life for a specific purpose then He did, regardless of how it currently looks.

The way you develop faith is through meditation.  Meditation helps us trust God (see my article, The Purpose of Meditation).  Trust is the precursor to faith because it allows us to REST in His provision and promises.

In time God gives us the ability to SEE what He is doing in our lives regardless of the circumstances.  The Apostle Paul explains the capacity of faith in Hebrews 11:

Faith is being sure of what we hope for (spiritual eyes) and certain of what we do not see (physical eyes).
Hebrews 11:1

This ability to “see” through faith keeps us “hanging tough” when things look down.  Just like in the story above, God is able to work everything to our good as long as our WILL stays strong and we don’t move from His purposes.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

God wants us to see that He is working in our circumstances.  He does this by training our WILL through the Shield of Faith.

Satan Wants You to Operate in Your Own Strength

Satan does this by getting us to develop our vision based on earthly standards rather than discovering who we are through His still small voice.

You are looking for God’s purpose for your life.  You have some sense of what that might be.  As discussed in Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes From the Gospel of Peace, you’ve looked inward and seen the desires of your heart.  

Now you want to execute it.  What would that look like?

Satan says develop it the way the world does.

Satan says, "Consider your demographic.”

1.  Do you have the right “message”?

2.  Are you well funded?

3.  Do you understand marketing so that your “product” can find it’s audience?

4.  Have you done follow-up research readjusting your message to meet your “customers” needs?

This is developing your life’s purposes based on your OWN understanding.

Not that we can’t ever use earthly methods to advance God’s purposes in our lives, but as we build, we must remind ourselves whose blueprints are we using?  Who’s the Master Designer of this project that is OUR life?

What does He say about how your life is built?  Is it really all up to us to figure out how HIS plan is implemented in our lives, as if He hasn’t even thought about it?

Our job is to seek His face and to ask Him how and when He is going to establish His plans in our life so that we can cooperate with it.

This is what the Bible says about works:

But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this FOUNDATION using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
1 Corinthians 3:10-13 

In other words God does not want you to overly trust YOUR understanding.  He wants you to carefully and prayerfully build your works on the foundation of Christ.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5

Again, what works are we doing?

The works God prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).

In other words, the only work that you can do that pleases God is the work that He prepared in advance for you to do.

Not works you think are Godly, or works that you think advances Him based on demographic studies.  Not any work that you imagine in your own mind.  But the work that HE DESIGNED for you to do.

These are the works that you are commissioned to DISCOVER and do.

Look at how simple this can be:

In John 9 we see a blind man about to be healed by Jesus.  Jesus’ disciples ask him “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.”

Listen to what Jesus says.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be DISPLAYED IN HIS LIFE.”

Then Jesus tells the blind man,

“Go and wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent).  So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
John 9: 3, 7

We learn that this man was INTENTIONALLY born blind for one express reason— so that the WORK of God might be displayed in his life.

This was the work God prepared in advance for him to do.

Each man is sent to fulfill a calling.  That’s why Jesus specifically healed the blind man in the pool of Siloam.  Siloam means “sent”.  God wanted to dramatize the fact that every man is SENT with a purpose.

Once healed, God sent him to the Pharisees.  They wanted to know if Jesus was a sinner.  This is what he told them:

“Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I SEE!”

This man fulfilled his purpose on earth.  God used him to advance His Kingdom.

He wants to use you too.

I encourage you to seek your calling.  Not based on the methods of man, but according to the still small voice of God in your spirit.

As you mediate, listen to the mind of Christ in you (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).  Ask God to give you the desires of your heart as you seek to fulfill His purposes in you.

Satan Wants You to Believe You’ve Made Too Many Mistakes

Do you feel like you’ve blown it?  Maybe you are in a bad marriage.  Maybe you’ve done things that put you in a bad light.

Satan wants you to believe that you’ve blown it.  That God can’t give you the desires of your heart.

Bottom line is, these things aren’t true.

I need to make you aware of a secret.  It’s a secret I learned by studying the life of King David in the Bible.  Just like you and me, David screwed up.  He did things that many of us may never do— he committed adultery and murder.  Even so, the Bible says that he was the apple of God’s eye.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 17:8

How is this possible?  What did David do to be considered a favorite of God?

The secret is found in Psalm 28.  I’m going to publish it at the bottom of this session so you can read it later.

In a nutshell, David’s secret is that when he sinned he’d throw himself at the MERCY of God.  David says:

He has heard my cry for mercy.  The Lord in my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Psalm 28:7

Contrast this with the action of others when they sin:

... (they) speak cordially with their neighbors but HARBOR MALICE in their hearts.... they show no regard for the works of the Lord.
Psalm 28:3-4

They pretend.  They are not sincere.  They want God to forgive them (His works) but they won’t forgive others (harbor malice).

David shows us that with the RIGHT ATTITUDE God will wipe the slate clean.  In Psalm 51 it says:

You do not delight in sacrifice (asceticism to the body or penance), or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

So don’t let Satan lie to you.  Don’t let him tell you that you have blown it.  God is able to take your greatest sin and turn it into a blessing.  God is able to complete His vision in you.

In our next session, I’ll discuss the Helmet of Salvation.  If Satan can’t get us to doubt God’s faithfulness as it relates to our purpose, he will attempt to distract us with other issues.  He does this by attacking our MIND.  He gets us thinking about anything and everything, as long as it’s not God’s purpose for us.

Psalm 28

To you I call, O Lord my Rock;
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent, 
I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. 

Hear my cry for mercy 
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.

Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts. 

Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back upon them what they deserve. 

Since they show no regard for the works of the Lord
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.

Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy. 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.


Piece of Armor: The Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)

1.  Trusting and Resting in God despite how it “looks”.

2.  The sanctification of man’s WILL.

Action needed to put on piece of armor: Meditation.  Read my article, The Purpose of Meditation.