“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16)
Our goals as victorious warriors or even survivors in the battle at hand include neutralizing the enemy’s tactics as well as defeating him. The Christian wants to live above the fray, being successful in his efforts to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” as we saw in our text. The third verse of the hymn “Higher Ground” expresses this desire well.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
The passage surrounding our text captures the warrior’s spirit well. The fighter is to don with care his entire armor (Ephesians 6:13) and protect his “loins girt about with truth” and wearing the “breastplate of righteousness.” He must be protected from head to toe, “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (v. 14-15) and standing with the helmet of salvation on his head. The text gives further instructions, perhaps more important than all the others, for it instructs “above all, taking the shield of faith.” Our faith, our belief in God, and the knowledge of the Word of God provide the necessary and winning power for the battle. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
The final item mentioned in this important passage is the striving together of the saints for the common goal, praying together and beseeching God for His blessings. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18) makes victory more certain in both the short run and the long. What bliss to catch the joyful sound of faithful saints on higher ground. JDM
Satan’s Subtle Strategy
[Satan] said to [Jesus], “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Matthew 4:6
Satan’s attacks against Job were two-fold. First, Satan destroyed Job’s children and property (Job 1-2). Those attacks were directly against Job himself. The second stage—Job’s struggle to maintain his confidence in God—was longer, more subtle, and more indirect: as evidenced by Job’s wife’s challenge: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). There is no direct evidence that Satan inspired Job’s wife’s words, but given his proximity to the situation, it is reasonable to assume it was part of his overall attack.
Which is more advantageous to Satan—to make you uncomfortable in the short term or to destroy your long-term confidence in the love and faithfulness of God? Obviously, the latter. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, his second temptation was an attempt to negate Jesus’ trust in God’s care.
If Satan can convince you that God doesn’t love you, forgive you, or care for you, he will have neutralized your faith.
Recommended Reading: Psalm 91:11-12
I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones