Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
In this verse, God describes the most important piece of the Armor of God: the shield of faith. It is our first line of defense. As long as our shield is in place, none of the enemy’s attacks can penetrate us. But being the most important does not diminish the value of our other armor. Do not think that as long as you have the shield of faith, you can leave your other items behind. For without that other armor, the shield will be weak, and should you falter and lower it, the darts of the wicked will have no other obstructions to penetrate deep inside of you. Keep all your armor ready and don’t discard any of it.
But why is the shield so important? Because while your armor protects you, the shield allows you to also move forward and can even help protect others. Imagine you are marching into war, wearing your armor but lacking the shield. Soon, arrows begin to fly and slam against your armor. Even though the arrows don’t penetrate, you can still feel the impact as they punch against you. Your body will soon begin to ache and the constant bombardment will make it very difficult to continue marching forward.
But a shield is designed to take that force for you. Many are even angled or rounded on the front, so that arrows would be deflected rather than blocked, greatly reducing the force of impact. With your shield properly held in front of you, the arrows cannot even reach you, allowing you to continue advancing regardless of the attacks. The shield can even be used to help protect those around and behind you.
This is why the shield of faith is so important. Faith in God is what gives you the power to defend against all attacks, and move against them. Your faith shines before men, giving others hope and encouraging them to take up shields of their own. This is why God tells us to take the shield above everything else.
But what exactly is faith? Hebrews 11:1 states:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The dictionary defines faith as: belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another without other evidence. The assent of the mind to the truth of what God has revealed.
Faith is reliance on God, expecting Him to do what He says He will do. The mind is a very logical part of us. It uses our senses, facts, and memory to help determine what is true and what will happen. But faith is setting our logic aside based on what God has told us in His Word. When our minds are screaming at us that He’s failing, faith is putting aside that logic and putting trust in God anyway, believing that He will have the final victory. We must yield our logic to God’s trust and rely on Him to do what is best without evidence beforehand that He will. And we cannot get this shield of faith without submitting to God and spending time in prayer and Bible reading.
With the shield, the verse says we shall be able to quench the fiery darts. Notice it says “shall”, not “will”. It is not impossible to stop all the attacks, but if we lower the shield for just a moment, darts will get through. It is not enough to merely have the shield with us; we must be using it correctly also. If your faith weakens for just a short time, the enemy will get their darts through. Our faith needs to be strong so that it does not falter. Only then shall we quench the darts.
Finally, what are the wicked, and what are their darts? The wicked are those who are against God and His truth. They are those who are constantly in sin and being used by Satan to accomplish his will, not God’s. They have never accepted Christ, and are opposed to Him.
As such, we are their enemies. They see us as a threat to the false security they have in their sin. As such, they will attack us with their fiery darts. They can be any number of things. Temptation, disobedience, doubt, fear, apathy: these are just a few of the darts the enemy will try to hit us with. And should they reach us, they would penetrate deeply and burn, rendering us weaker or even useless for God.
Keep the shield up. Strengthen your faith in God, and nothing else. When struggles, casualties, and disasters hit your life, don’t let them lower your shield of faith. For Satan and his minions are waiting, ready to strike and take you out of the fight.