We continue exploring the meaning and practicality of the armor of God.
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Ephesians 6:16 urges, "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." The shield was a vital piece of a Roman soldier's equipment, not only for pushing forward but to aid in retreat. Similarly, faith acts as a shield for believers, protecting them from the challenges and temptations that come their way. It's a reminder that when doubts, fears, and the fiery darts of the adversary threaten to overwhelm, it's faith that will keep a believer grounded and secure, either to push forward the kingdom of God, or retreat, seeking the encouragement and protection of brothers and sisters in faith.
Our faith, like the shield, serves as a layer of protection, not just for us but for others around us. e.g. the women who carefully stitched the space suit for Apollo 13, ensuring safety [Equipping the astronauts with the necessary protection to thrive in space. ] We, too, are tasked with protecting those around us.
Faith is a tool that we should not use to harm or belittle others but to protect and love.
Just like the astronaut's suit is designed to protect them from the harsh environment of space, our faith should be designed to protect us from the hardships and challenges we face in the world. Just as we are urged to love God, engage in daily prayer, explore the scriptures, practice forgiveness, serve others, and live humbly, we should also use our faith to protect and support one another.
The story of Saul's transformation to Paul highlights the importance of this. He once persecuted Christians, but after encountering Christ, he became one of its most ardent supporters. See, Acts 9: 20 His faith became his shield, allowing him #forward to spread the gospel boldly See Acts 9: 21-23 , but he also knew when to step back and recharge, See Acts 9: 24-25 trusting in others to carry on the work. This is the story of Barnabas. See Acts 9:27
We are not in this alone. Just as Saul had Barnabas and others to support him, we too have our faith community. Together, we can use our collective shields of faith to protect, serve, and love. It's not just about individual salvation or righteousness; it's about communal well-being and support.
In today's world, it's easy to see faith as a weapon. It's used to justify harm, discrimination, and even violence. But that's not its true purpose. The shield of faith is a tool of love, compassion, and protection. We should always remember this and strive to use our faith to uplift, support, and protect those around us, just as God does for all of us.
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