Growing up, I remember playing a game at school called “Red Rover.” Do you remember playing this game too? For those of you who may not remember, the game is played between two lines of players, usually around thirty feet apart. The game starts when the 1st team…say team Blue… calls out to the 2nd team…say team Green, “Red rover, red rover, send [name of player on opposite team] right over.”
The immediate goal for the person called is to run to the other line and break the Blue team’s chain (formed by the linking of hands). If the person called fails to break the chain, this player joins the Blue team. However, if the player successfully breaks the chain, this player may select either of the two “links” broken by the successful run, and take them to join the Green team. The Green team then calls out “Red rover” for a player on the Blue team, and play continues.
When only one player is left on a team, they also must try and break through a link. If they do not succeed, the opposing team wins. Otherwise, they are able to get a player back for their team.
I love sports and was very competitive growing up so I was all about this game! When I was called over by the opposing team, I would examine the row of kids linked together and determine the weakest link in the chain. That is where I would attempt to run and break through the chain.
This strategy of determining your opposing team’s weaknesses is certainly not a new one as it is used in many sports today such as football, baseball, basketball and also as military strategy in many battles and wars. If you can figure out the other team’s/enemy’s weakness then that is the very area you pursue and attack to achieve your win or victory.
Well, as Christians we too have battles and an enemy to fight…Satan…an enemy who is very skilled in deceiving, manipulating, and lying.
…he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV
An enemy who will wait for an opportune time to attack us….especially in our weakness.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. Luke 4:13NIV
As Christians, we face a very powerful enemy whose goal is to defeat us.
Jesus said…The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 NLT
Satan can attack us in many ways and one way is in our weakness.
Have you ever experienced this? I know I have! …especially when I have my guard down…when I least expect it…when my faith isn’t strong…when I am tired …when I am flat out weak.
The Bible talks about our fight not being against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV
And it goes on to shows us that we can fight and stand these struggles by putting on the full armor of God!
I absolutely love this passage Ephesians 6:10-18! It discusses each piece of armor we are to put on or carry to fight against the enemy…and his schemes. What is interesting is that twice it says to put on the “full” armor or “whole” armor of God…indicating the importance of each piece of armor. Each piece has a purpose…the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted and ready by the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit.
The one piece of equipment I want to focus on today is our shield…our Shield of Faith!
Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16 KJV
I find it very interesting that Ephesians 6:16 begins with the words “Above all”….Why is the Shield of Faith the piece of armor that is “above all” the other pieces? Is it more important than all the other pieces of armor?
In order to grasp the significance of these 2 words “Above all”, I would like to first describe the shield…the shield used by soldiers and mighty warriors in battle.
It was a big shield that measures 1.6m high and 80cm wide. It was made of 3 layers of wood, with linen sandwiched between each layer and also had an outer layer of leather or animal hide. To hold it all together, there was a bronze strip wrapped around the whole edge.
If it was hit by a flaming arrow, this shield would still burn. So, before they went into battle, the soldiers would soak the shields in water. The wet linen and leather would stop the shield from igniting, even when there was a flaming arrow embedded into it. Pretty cool, huh?!
Secondly, I want you to see the true meaning of “Above all”.
The phrase “Above all” is taken from the Greek phrase epi pasin. The word epi means “over.” The word pasin “all” or can be translated “everything.”
So instead of saying that the Shield of Faith is more important than other pieces of the armor, we can see that the phrase epi pasin (“above all”) describes a position over the other pieces of armor…it can be described, as being “out in front” of all…or “covering everything.” This tells us that our Faith should be “out in front” and “covering all.”
So the Shield of Faith is actually the armor’s armor! And if a soldier drops his shield, the other pieces of his armor are much more vulnerable! (Certainly an area of weakness for the enemy to attack with his flaming arrows!)
Therefore, we cannot drop our Shield of Faith! Just as the shield is to cover and protect the rest of the soldier’s armor, so it is with our faith! The Shield of Faith is meant to completely cover and protect us from harm. It is a defensive weapon that is “out in front” of all the other armor and…“above all” thus describing position…not importance.
Are you holding on to your Shield of Faith? Or have you dropped it leaving you exposed to the enemy’s attack…his flaming arrows?
We cannot drop our Shield of Faith! …we just can’t afford to! Faith was never meant to be held at our side or to be timidly held behind our backs. Faith is meant to be “out in front” where it can cover us as Christians.
We must continually have faith and trust God when the enemy attacks with his flaming arrows…We need to pray faith, speak faith, walk faith, live faith…hold up our Shield of Faith!
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2Cor 5:7 NASB
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2Cor 5:7 NIV
No matter how big our enemy looks to us….no matter how big our struggle seems to us…no matter how big our weakness is…put up your Shield of Faith and “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16 KJV
1) How are you fighting the enemy? Have you put on the “full” armor of God in preparation to fight?
2) What about your Shield of Faith? Have you dropped your Shield of Faith allowing yourself to be more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks?
1) Put on the full armor of God when fighting against the enemy and his schemes and above all, don’t drop your shield of faith!
2) Build your faith with God’s word.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 5:17 KJV
3) Pray and speak faith scriptures out loud to encourage and keep your Shield of Faith raised up!