Encouragement for Today
“Taking Up the Shield”
Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministry, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Ephesians 6:16, “In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan." (NLT)
I stood in the midst of a horrible battle that Saturday afternoon! A relational death hovered over me; I needed to fight wisely.
I cannot remember how many times I retreated to my “tent,” the dark recesses of my soul – the place no one sees, but I certainly feel. I went there to understand my emotions and tend to my wounds, justifying my pain and sorrow. No sooner would I feel the battle relax, allowing healing to begin, than a flaming arrow would fly into my line of vision and threaten to sink into my heart or a dart would settle in my mind and I would gear up for battle once again. This time I threatened to defend myself and mine. Determined now to face off with the one who, without a doubt, deserved my wrath, my rejection, and my public disapproval, I picked up every unethical tool that would surely destroy a friendship between two godly individuals and diminish the character of a popular person, my stated enemy.
This one-sided fight spotlighted only one person on the battle field. My foe was not aware that a dispute even existed. I knew! I fought alone. The hurtful and unfair decision stood to potentially destroy my child. “Hadn’t this been considered?” I wondered. The lack of wisdom in the decisions made and direction taken tied me in knots. Unfortunately nothing could be done. It was too late. Once again I read over the published names of the newly chosen stars. I had no choice, but to live with it. But how could I? The battle raged on…
I began to doubt myself. How had I so suddenly turned on one whom I had admired? Why didn’t I respect his decision if, in fact, I enthusiastically supported him in the past? Why did he do what he did? Fickle me! At this moment I certainly couldn’t be defined as a person of deep character.
“I retreated again, remorse for my thoughts toward my “friend.” Then I began to see the battle field for what it truly was. My struggle seemed to be against the flesh and blood of the person, I so admired, only the day before. In reality, Satan’s prowling hunt threatened to divide and destroy God’s children. If I continued to wrestle and fall prey to the enemy, I stood the chance of walking away, not with a shallow battle scar that would heal in time, but with a huge character flaw, if I continued in my plotting strategy to destroy a brother.
I needed a better tactic to win this battle. All around me missiles, darts and arrows attacked in the form of lies, rejection, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Even when I stood back and assessed the war zone, I knew the fight raged on. Immediately, I knew a cease-fire was the only resolution. I must stop this senseless issue.
My home is composed of guys and they like battle scenes, so we read and watch about wars and learn what goes on in battles. I can’t help but notice that ancient combats demanded shields of all types – every soldier had protection and it was ingenious the way he used that gear. The hero made himself ready for the conflict as his servant stood holding his equipment designed for war. The master prepared for the skirmish and his servant offered, “Take your shield.” Notice that, before stepping into the melee, the warrior is told to take his shield.
That is what I was missing! I had forgotten to pick up my shield – the Shield of Faith. Faith that God would bring peace and comfort to this decision turned major conflict. When I did grab it, I became intimately acquainted with my Shield – Jesus. Psalms 18:2 and 28:7 say about Jesus, our Shield: “I love thee O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my Rock and my fortress and my redeemer, My God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults and with my songs I shall thank Him.”
I studied my shield and this is what I learned. Jesus the Christ is my Shield. He is
Champion: He fights my battles for me!
Horn: He sounds the horn of victory!
Redeemer: He gave His life for me!
I am helped: He offers me his strong right hand!
Strong: He is strong; I am weak!
Trustworthy: He keeps His promises!
I learned that when I pick up the Shield, Christ extinguishes the flaming arrows. I wanted a connection with my friend, not a conflict. What I learned was that the side of the shield held against the enemy deflected the incoming darts that brought lies and deception. The side of the shield that rested against my mind and my heart brought truth and peace.
Isn’t that just like the Lord who is our Champion? When we draw near to Him seeking protection and relief, He draws near to us, giving harmony and righteousness.
Almost instantly there was peace. I realized the battle was over. I was aware of the truth! God’s children do not declare war; they excuse and exonerate. The rage subsided. Calm reigned.
My Prayer for Today: God, You are my protector. You have given me the resources I need to take on daily battles. Best of all, You have given me Your Son to be my Shield. I praise You, for you are a mighty God.
Memorize the power verses so you will have them available when you need to build your confidence.
Name the battles you regularly fight.
Who is the real enemy?
How can the spiritual armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 help you overcome your trials?
2 Chronicles 20:15, “…listen, all you people of
Psalm 89:24, “My faithfulness and My loving kindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted.” (NAS)
John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.” (GNT)
Exodus 6:5-6, “I have also heard the groaning… and I have remembered my covenant. "I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens… and deliver you from slavery. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.” (NRS)
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland
P31 Woman Magazine
Originally published Tuesday, 26 April 2005.