When the Apostle Paul outlined the spiritual armor of the believer, one of the most prominent pieces he mentioned was the shield of faith:
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16 NKV)
The Roman shield was about 2’ by 4’ and made of light wood covered with several layers of hide or sheet metal. The soldier used it to ward off blows and to protect himself from arrows.
Paul says that the shield of faith has the specific purpose of protecting Christians from the fiery darts of the enemy. These particularly fierce weapons were fabricated of either hollow canes filled with incendiary material or arrows wrapped with similar ingredients (Psalms 7:13). They were lit and fired at their enemy.
To repel this missile, the shields were made of a hardened material so the fiery darts would simply bounce off.
If the shields were not properly constructed they were vulnerable. In one particular battle, an early historian recorded how when fired upon with fiery arrows soldiers with wooden shields threw them to the ground to escape being burnt.
The shield of faith is intended to protect the Christian from the type of fiery attack that blasted Elijah — fear and condemnation.
Shortly after Elijah dealt with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel sent a messenger stating she intended to kill Elijah, who fled in terror (1 Kings 19: 1-3).
Almost immediately, Elijah was gripped with condemnation and became so depressed he wanted to die.
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (I Kings 19:4 NKJV)
He felt like an utter failure — he was no better than his ancestors — suggesting the words Jezebel spoke were uniquely empowered by the demonic realm.
In Rev 12: 10, 11, Satan is depicted as making accusations against believers day and night — suggesting we are even being bombarded as we sleep. I have gone through such attacks and have woken in the middle of the night with thoughts racing through my mind.
It’s obvious from this passage that this is one of the demonic realm’s major forms of attack. And if we understand the book of Revelation to be a picture of the end times, it tells us that accusation will be one of the major weapons Satan will use against believers at this time.
In moments when we are inundated with accusation, condemnation and fear, we must cling to who we are in Christ by faith, despite how we feel about ourselves. We must believe the Bible when it says there is no longer any condemnation in Christ:
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 NKV)
This is certainly easier said than done because we are forced to control our thought life. But we can do this with the help of the Holy Spirit.
When thoughts flood our mind of past failures or sins, we must deliberately snuff them out. If you have sinned you only need to ask God to forgive you once for the infraction. If you have asked more than once it suggests that its source is from the spiritual realm.
Or they could be voices from the past saying you would never amount to anything or you could be reliving past failures.
When that happens we must quickly grab our shield of faith, choose to believe, and quench the enemy’s attack.