“In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” Ephesians 6:16 (NLT)
It was my second time at a LARP event. I raised my shield so it covered most of my torso, brought my sword to the ready position, and prepared to fight my opponent. He grinned and we tapped swords, signaling the start of the fight. After testing each other’s defenses for several moments, he brought his sword high, striking towards my left shoulder. I instinctively brought my arm up so my shield covered where his sword was headed, but the strike never landed. Faster than I could react, his blade came down to my exposed right hip, landing a kill shot.
“Dead…,” I say once again
“Why did you die this time?,” Kavik asks.
“Because you’re faster than me.”
“Wrong. Because you didn’t use your shield right.”
The Bible calls faith a shield. This is an intentional connection and not just because Paul needed to match faith with a piece of armor. Unfortunately, just like when I was learning to fight with a shield, many Christians wield their shields incorrectly, making their faith far less effective than it could be.
Too often I hear of people trying to use faith as a weapon to defeat their problems. You didn’t get that job promotion you wanted? Well, you just need to have more faith when you pray. The problem you’re going through just will not go away? Just have more faith and God will take care of it.
These arguments misunderstand the function of faith. They try to use the shield to destroy the problem, when the purpose of a shield is to project. Faith will not get rid of any of our problems, nor should we expect it to. What faith will do is give you the protection and shelter to get through whatever trial you are facing. The faith we have should not be in what God will do for us, but in who God is and the knowledge he has a plan and is working for the good of those who love him.
This knowledge will bring us comfort and strength as we go through trials. The devil cannot hit us with his fiery arrows if we are hidden safe behind the shield God has provided for us; but if we try to throw that shield at the devil to defeat him, it will leave areas of us vulnerable to attack.
While it is true faith can move mountains, the focus of our faith must remain on the one who does the moving. A quote from Firefly comes to mind: “You don’t fix faith, River. Faith fixes you.”