"Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3)
Peace is not easy. It is not natural. By nature we war, we fight, we argue, we compete. We are jealous, we are bitter, we hate, we hold grudges. So it takes work to keep peace. It requires continual effort. It’s hard.
But we approach it with eagerness. We don’t run away because it’s difficult, we attack issues with promptness, diligence, and most of all, assuance that He who calls us to live peaceably, the God of Peace Himself, will give us peace and accomplish the very thing He is asking us to maintain.
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” [read context]
In all circumstances
No matter what Satan throws at us in the form of temptation or trial, Paul reveals to us the secret to quenching his flaming darts: faith.
- 1 John 2:16; “For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.”
- 1 John 5:4-5; “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
The world is full of temptation–that will never change. You can’t isolate yourself from sin, and even if you did, your heart will still betray you. The victory that overcomes the world and its lusts is faith. We place our faith in Jesus Christ and are born-again. This faith not only gives us life but sustains in it as well. “The righteous live by faith.”
In every circumstance we quench the devil’s flaming darts by faith.
Search the internet for self-help advice concerning addiction. You’ll read a lot about willpower, you’ll read a lot about accountability, you’ll read a lot about ways to distract yourself or change your habits. What you won’t likely see is this simple solution: put your faith in God–trust the Lord.
The reason you won’t see this is because trusting the Lord is not self-help. People want to fix things themselves; they don’t want to give up control. Faith doesn’t depend on our methods but on God.
Faith is trusting Him who gave us these promises:
- Philippians 1:6; “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:13; “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3; “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
- Psalm 121:7; “The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.”
The shield of faith
Now, any warrior would tell you, when you are in battle you should carry your shield at all times. In other words, don’t wait till the enemy shoots his darts. Always be ready.
As Christians, we need to strengthen our faith before we are tempted.
How do we strengthen our faith?
- Romans 10:17; “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
The Lord’s word; specifically the bible–and even more specifically, the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed throughout the entire bible–will grow and strengthen our faith.
- Romans 16:25-27; “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
As we read the Word of God we are edified. We are built up and encouraged. We are prepared to defend ourselves within this spiritual battle we wage. We will be ready in every circumstance of life, when Satan hurls his flaming darts our direction, to take up the shield of faith, placing our trust, not in ourselves, but in the Lord.