“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.
“However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.”
They did not drive out the Canaanites
The Lord had promised the children of Israel that He would drive out the inhabitants of the land. Even just 3 chapters earlier, the Lord told Joshua, “I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel.” Yet, for all that, the Canaanites remained in the land.
- Joshua 15:63 “But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.”
- Joshua 17:12-13 “Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.”
So the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day
Though the Lord promised to drive the Canaanites out from before Israel, they remained. Was it God who was unfaithful? Is it the Lord who is not strong? No, Israel was not willing to fight. God promised to give them victory, God promised to go before them in battle, but Israel folded his arms and refused to fight. So, the Canaanites remained in the land.
We also are in the midst of a battle. We war against the lusts of our flesh. Yet “though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
We wage a spiritual, internal war.
- 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
- Romans 7:23 “I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”
- Galatians 5:17 “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
- James 4:1 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
We’ve been born-again to living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives, we live. Our old self was crucified with Christ. Unfortunately, it still rears itself up again and fights against us. The question is, how long will we put off claiming the victory that is ours in Christ? As Joshua said to Ephraim, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” Joshua 18:3.
We are not told, “do away with most of your sin,” but to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God;” 2 Corinthians 7:1. Do I mean to say we will obtain perfection on this earth? No; perfection will come when Christ brings us into His presence. But we ought not go on in our Christian walk ignoring the battle around us, pretending we don’t see it, and acting as if we have no strength to fight.
Stand up! Be strong! Act like men! Get up and fight. The Lord is with you. He has given you His Holy Spirit to produce His fruit within you and to give you the power to put to death the deeds of your flesh. He has promised to give you victory in this spiritual battle we wage. It is your decision whether or not you will claim it.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
- Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints….”