Paul uses the equipment of a Roman soldier to describe the spiritual weapons available to believers. It is important that we understand the intent behind this analogy. Paul didn’t describe a businessperson or an accountant or a priest. He described a warrior. We need to recognize we are at war. We have an enemy. This enemy attacks us.
Too many believers don’t want to get involved in the fight. They say it isn’t for them or they don’t believe in it. Well, whether they believe in it or not, it is real. When you don’t engage in the battle, you are held in captivity. The Lord will work with you if you are willing to work. But if you surrender, He won’t violate your will. You can live as one of His children but remain in slavery. The cell door is open but you have to walk out. I am not talking about engaging in territorial spirits and major warfare. I am talking about walking in the freedom that grace has purchased for you.
As a believer you are under attack. You represent the Lord, His kingdom and the potential liberation of everyone held captive to the enemy. You may not think you are a liberator or anyone of any significance but Jesus said the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist who was the greatest among men. You are limited only by how you think. What you think you are is what you will be. If you think you are insignificant, then you will be. It is not because you are but because you think you are. In the kingdom of God you are a powerful warrior. You are part of God’s army. You are not on furlough but on active duty. Don’t let yourself be taken captive. Stand and fight.
There are flaming arrows coming at you. Your enemy, the devil, is shooting at you. To protect yourself you need to raise the shield of faith. The word ‘shield’ comes from a root word that means door. The shield of faith is substantial. It is large and square and sufficient to stand behind. It is also an entrance to more than you ever dreamed of. Faith makes a way when others say you can’t do that. The word ‘flaming’ means on fire but also indignant and irritated. The word ‘arrows’ is essentially a missile but its root means to be thrown in any direction without care.
The flaming arrows of the enemy are missiles inspired either by irritating him or by the indignation of his servants. The words that people say are missiles on fire from hell. The book of James says the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. Our words are powerful. They can create good or evil amongst the believers. The enemy thrives on the loose lips of believers as an access point to torment others. We may not take our words seriously nor intend to be malicious but the enemy doesn’t care. He will use them to launch flaming arrows at the believers. He is not particular as to their destination as long as they strike someone. Has he particularly targeted you? Not necessarily! Even so that does not make you exempt from the effects of these flaming arrows. They are scattered with the aim of doing damage to God’s army. Anyone that’s hit is ok with the devil.
Paul says that faith quenches the flaming arrows. Faith is a shield that blocks them impacting you. As you move forward in faith, keeping your faith active, the flaming arrows are quenched. They won’t do you any damage. When we lower our shield of faith, we are subject to all kinds of surprise attacks. We can be wounded by not living in faith. Regardless of the reason, if we lower our faith level, stray flaming arrows may inadvertently hit us. If we have been significantly moving the kingdom of God forward by faith, then the same faith that won battles for us will keep us from the flaming arrows of the enemy. Don’t rest in the victory. Enjoy it but stay alert and in faith.
(excerpt from Faith: The Currency of Heaven - available through this website/Amazon)
(image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)