In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
When I envision the shield of faith putting out the enemy’s flaming arrows, I can hear the sizzle of those fires going out. I picture a shield so saturated in faith that those arrows have no chance. It is dripping with the cool, refreshing faith necessary to march confidently in the face of this barrage. While the word “faith” is commonly defined as belief, it can also be defined as assurance, conviction and faithfulness. I believe this is the crux of this part of the passage. These words define the elements necessary for our faith to be purposeful and productive.
We are to be assured that the truths of God we believe are indeed objective truth. Proper faith straddles no fences but has decided on which side to stand. Proper faith carries the conviction to stand behind God’s word regardless of any other influence, even when it makes no sense in the context of our temporal world. Proper faith will lead us to remain faithful to trust God in the midst of the circumstances that would cause us to entertain doubt. When our minds have been truly made up for God, no flaming arrow of the enemy can pierce our great faith.
I believe we often forget that our shields can reach impenetrability. They can be impervious. We cannot be satisfied with a 90% success rate here. It should be our desire that NO arrows get past our shields. We must be like Jesus’ disciples and ask that God increase our faith, and we must pursue the spiritual disciplines that aide in that process. We cannot put aside our private times of prayer, our honest worship of the Father or our meditation over the scriptures. We must commune regularly with the Holy Spirit, whose function it is to remind us of the Savior’s teachings [John 14:26], and we cannot forsake our fellowship with the saints. Father, give us a desire to have an increase in faith, and instill in us the disciplines necessary to bring that to fruition, so that we may extinguish every one of the enemy’s arrows without fail.