“Above all take the shield of faith by which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16
We as Christians are at war. We fight a real enemy that is constantly trying to steal, kill, and destroy us every possible way. Understanding your enemy and how he operates is an important step to having victory in your life. In the above passage of scripture Paul gives us a metaphorical description of one of Satan’s most effective weapons; the fiery darts. To understand this weapon we must study how the enemies of the ancient Roman army used it.
What are fiery darts?
Fiery darts, or arrows, represent the thoughts that the enemy attacks our mind in order to hinder us. There were three primary ways these arrows were used against the Roman army. These three ways can be correlated to the level of mental attack Satan launches against us today.
The first arrow was just a plain arrow. It was designed to penetrate the target it struck. This arrow represents doubts.
Doubts can penetrate our dreams, our confidence for provision, and even our belief in the promises of God. Doubts are a major force against our destiny because it ties the hands of God. If you can’t believe it, you will never be able to achieve it. No matter how bad you want it or able to obtain it if you are filled with doubt you will back away from it.
If this arrow is not quenched you could be reduced to living a life of sickness, poverty and pain. You will go through life knowing that there is something deeper but never stepping in it. Most people who doubt the promises of God live in fear.
The second arrow was laced with a flammable pitch that burst into a ball of flame when it hit its target. This arrow was designed to be a distraction by temporarily blinding the soldiers who looked at it. Satan uses the same tactic of distraction to break our focus and shift our attention away from our purpose.
A distraction is an unhealthy attraction that breaks your focus and hinders you. To be distracted is to have our attention commanded by something of lesser importance. Our life can be so full of distractions that there is no room for purpose.
This arrow is most effective on the Christian who is so busy serving that they lose sight of their first love. If this arrow is not quenched our lives would be full of unfinished products, mediocre levels of success, or a successful life of un-fulfillment. Worse even, you could have a lukewarm walk with Christ with no affection for your Savior. See my post on How to Overcome Distractions to learn how to manage them.
The final arrow was wrapped with a leaking flammable material. It was designed to ignite the shield of the Roman soldier and consume it in flames. In essence it would grab the soldier’s attention and demand action. This arrow is representative of the lustful thoughts of desire that, if left unchecked, will consume our thought life and drive us to self defeating behavior.
Depending upon what your issue is, and we all have issues, this could be an addiction, un-forgiveness, sexual sin, emotional instability, lethargy, relationship dysfunctions, and a host of other insecurities. In essence, the enemy wants to keep you so focused on your weakness that you won’t maximize your strengths. If this dart is not quenched, sin finds access into our lives through our issues and contaminates those that are around us.
Faith is the Answer
Paul tells us to protect ourselves from these arrows by taking the shield of faith. The Roman soldiers used several shields over time. The shield Paul was referring to was the full body leather shields made from layers of lamb skin. In order for this shield to remain effective these it had to be maintained by anointing it with olive oil periodically, and soaked in water before engaging the enemy.
So it is with our faith, we must also keep our faith alive by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and immersing it in the Word of God. In our own strength we have limited defense against the thoughts of the enemy but by faith we can overcome all of them all of the time. So above all, make sure you walk by faith and not by sight and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
I am Andrew Freed and you are an Overcomer in Christ.