The Shield of Faith

The apostle Paul writes, “Take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph 6:16).  Our second weapon to counter the evil schemes of Satan is faith.

You recall last time that Jesus hinted at this when He told the father of the demon-possessed son, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23).  Jesus expanded on this idea in Matthew’s telling of the same story in Matthew 17:14-20.  Here, after Jesus commands the demon to leave and the child is cured, we see the same question from the disciples as in Mark 9.

“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’  And Jesus said to them, ‘Because your faith was too small.  For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it shall move.  And nothing shall be impossible to you’ ” (Mt 17:19-20).

Jesus’ words, “Your faith is too small” have haunted me … oh, haunted may not be the best word if it carries negative connotations.  I am using haunted in the most positive way possible.  Let’s just say this phrase has become my constant companion.  At nearly every crossroad, every challenge ahead, every request for prayer, I ask myself, “Is my faith too small?”

Of course, that leads to a follow-up question about what large faith looks like, “If my faith were larger, would the outcome be different?”  A difficult question for another time.  (Well, there actually was another time since I previously wrote about this very thing in these two posts:  Can Faith Change the Outcome? and Can Faith Control the Outcome?)  But for now, let’s return to what clearly lies within our control; the measure of our faith.

Our role is not to predict or control outcomes.  Our role is to practice faith on the largest level possible.  But this increasing faith that we desire to experience is a process.  We can say with the pleading father, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mk 9:24).  “I have faith, but Jesus give me greater faith.  Jesus, show me what large faith looks like.  Jesus, help my unbelief.”

When we encounter the attacks of Satan, even as they appear to be in overdrive in these days, we have a counterattack strategy.  We don’t get angry.  We don’t blame others.  We don’t lose hope.  We don’t abandon our commitments.  But we do fight back; wielding our powerful weapons given to us by God Himself; the weapons of prayer and faith.

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