The Roman shield consisted of two layers of wood glued together, covered with linen and hide, and bound with iron. The shield of faith is distinctive in comparison to our previous pieces of armor. It specifically tells what the effect will be when the shield is used – the flaming arrows of the evil one will be extinguished. Eph. 6:16 The consummate Shield of course, is the Presence of Christ in our lives. We are told to lay aside the deeds on darkness and put on the armor of light…to put on (be clothed with) the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 13:12,14 Being a target of the enemy’s fiery arrows during his earthly sojourn, Jesus knows the battles we face in our personal lives and families.
It’s clear that faith means believing or trusting. The shield of faith then, is my being consistent to believe and trust God. Let’s go a bit further and look at three different shades of meaning. First, there is saving faith, by which we are born again. It’s been forty-four years since I first laid aside the deeds of darkness and put on Christ. It boggles my mind that I lived for twenty-one years with little or no, shield of faith. I must have looked like a pin cushion on fire, if you know what I mean. Second, there is the fruit of faith, or faithfulness. Gal. 5:22 We are full of faith, and shielded, when we maintain a daily trust in God. And third, is what has been called enduring faith.
The whole context of Ephesians six is not about salvation, or daily faith, but about wrestling against spiritual forces of evil. The shield of faith in essence, is enduring faith, that persistently finds a way to rise above whatever the situation might be. It’s very helpful when a marriage has saving faith (both spouses are believers) and the fruit of faith (daily trust), but when the ante goes up into a full scale assault from the forces of darkness, having the enduring shield in play is essential. By the way, this applies foremost to personal battles, i.e. what one spouse might be going through, not even related to an interpersonal marital conflict at all. There is a subtle, deadly nuance as well, when the spouse who is struggling goes deep into hiding, perhaps from shame, and the other spouse is mystified by the passive/aggressive behavior they are encountering.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Jas. 1:2-4 NASB This is enduring faith in action. No matter the cause of the trial (various speaks of a great variety) there is something about being complete (mature) that can only be accomplished via the results of endurance. Another one of my favorite passages: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” Heb. 12:1-2 NASB Every mature marriage has a testimony of personal endurance.
You have an inheritance in God, along with an inheritance in your marriage and family. Peter makes it clear that our faith, like gold, is being purified by the trials and griefs we endure. 1 Pet. 1:5-7 Even spiritual warfare, intended by the enemy for destruction, is a commodity in God’s kingdom to produce enduring, God-honoring faith. We are “shielded by God’s power” through faith. The literal meaning of the word “shielded” is “garrison.” There is a divine command post encamped around me. This canopy of protection is raised or lowered by virtue of your faith.
I pray that your personal and married life will be shielded by enduring faith.