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Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Note 14 at Eph 6:16: "Above all" means overall and in front of all. Some have suggested from this statement that the shield of faith is the most important piece of armor.
We exercise faith almost daily in such things as sitting on chairs and driving cars, but our faith is no better than the object in which it is placed. If I were to sit in a chair made of cardboard, I would go crashing to the ground. Regardless of how much faith I had, my faith would fall flat because the object of my faith was faulty.
Scripture tells us in Heb 12:2 that we are to be "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." We must transfer our faith from human self-reliance and dependence to relying upon, clinging to, and trusting Jesus Christ in all areas of our lives. Faith in its simplest definition is to trust, to rely, and to depend upon the resource of another. God's Word declares that the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, can never fail or disappoint us.
Note 15 at Eph 6:16: The shield in the Old Testament was referred to as "the buckler." Several types of shields were used in the Apostle Paul's day. A small shield was used when fighting with the sword, and it covered over the whole area of the soldier's arm. There was a second type of shield that was about two-and-a-half feet wide and four feet high. It was usually about as thick as the palm of a man's hand. This great, massive shield came to be known as a door shield. Sometimes it was made of bronze or gold, but most of the time, it was made of heavy wooden planks glued together; covered with linen, canvas, or animal hides; and trimmed with solid iron or metal. When Roman soldiers would advance in battle, they would overlap these large shields, making a wall that would be able to stop the most modern weapons of the time.
One of the most advanced weapons of that time was the flaming arrow. It contained a little ball of linen dipped in pitch and ignited. The intention was to ignite the linen under the opposing soldier's breastplate and thereby consume him. This massive door shield created a wall to protect the Roman soldier from every fiery dart. The counterpart of this is the shield of faith that protects the Christian soldier. This verse states, "Above all, taking the shield of faith" (see note 14 at this verse).
Note 16 at Eph 6:16: Some people get very angry when anyone advocates total victory in the Christian life. They don't think it is obtainable; therefore, it is wrong to promote such ideas and get people's hopes up, since they will just be disappointed. But this verse teaches that our shield of faith will quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Total victory is possible!
It is important to realize that this victorious Christian life doesn't happen because there is no opposition. Satan will shoot his fiery darts. In fact, once a person starts standing on the Word of God, the attack intensifies (2Ti 3:12 and Mr 4:17, see note 5 at Mr 4:16). Victory over all the attacks of the Enemy is possible. Paul said, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ" (2Co 2:14). Paul had great opposition, but he always won.
It is true that total victory is not common among Christians, and from the viewpoint of some, it may be nonexistent. But that is not because it is not available. Teaching that God wills us to fail at times is like telling athletes that their coach wants them to lose. We all learn from defeats, and losing can be used to make us better people; but real winners never plan to lose. Christians who plan to lose, will.
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