Raising Faith

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16 ESV
I’m nearing the end of Donna Pyle’s Your Strong Suit Bible study. I’ve moved slowly, as I’ve pinged off her notes, scriptures and quotes.
We’re talking strength on Wednesdays. So far, in the armor of God series, we’ve learned about truth, righteousness, and peace.
Today is all about an item that doesn’t clothe us, but surrounds us. An item we have to pick up and carry with us into battle.
The shield of faith. 
“Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.
Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.” Hebrews 11:1-3 CEV
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 
It’s hard to believe in something you can’t see. Promises that have been spoken to the heart, but can’t be tangibly touched…yet.
But when you experience Jesus…a taste even, a thousand eyes aren’t necessary to believe He is real. That is His power is mighty, His love overwhelming.
That’s why the shield of faith is so important to carry. To remember to take up.
The enemy lurks, waiting for our arms to get tired or for us to forget all together to raise the shield. A single arrow, tipped in fire can burn away at our faith, our trust in God and His goodness, His mercy, compassion.
Shields used by Roman soldiers, as Donna Pyle teaches, “were about four feet tall and approximately two feet wide…door-sized…”
The outside of the shields were covered in leather and then soaked in water. The point? To quench fiery darts.
We need to take up our shields, and daily soak them in the water of the Word.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
The fight is daily. The enemy does not tire. He’s prepared, in position, and ready to pounce.
But we get tired don’t we?
When God nudged me to write and began giving me promises, at first I believed! It was exciting as I wrote one story after another. Thirteen full manuscripts of hope.
And as time wore on, I questioned God’s promises. I couldn’t see anything happening.
“This is your dream, not God’s dream for you. You know there’s a difference. You’re not a bad writer, but you’re not good enough. You’re a nobody, you know that, right? You will fail. And you’ll be a laughing-stock. Your church won’t back you. They don’t care what you’re doing.”
Those are just a few of the burning arrows the enemy directed towards my innermost parts.
During those times, God used His Word to confirm and encourage, helping me raise my shield of faith to fight off and extinguish the fiery darts of doubt and fear…the bright burning darts full of fiery lies.
But I had to soak the shield. I had to prepare for the attacks.  I had to do my part.
It was in the long periods of waiting that God used the same words He’d spoken to Abram (Abraham) to remind me no matter what happens in this temporary world. No matter what my eyes could see. This was true:
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1
Raising faith is raising up Jesus Christ to the enemy. Who can be against us, when Jesus is for us. When He covers us as a shield and deflects the darts.
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
The Great I AM says, “Don’t lie to her.” And he covers us with His might. A shield of glory and beauty.
“If you want her, you’re going to have to go through Me to get her. And you and I both know how that turned out last time.”
It ended with Jesus publicly humiliating the enemy as He drug him around the streets in the dirt and ended with a Holy boot to his sick, sad, little neck.
For you. For me.
 “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
We were the joy. We are the joy.
Sometimes the weariness of walking out this thing called faith can be overwhelming. The enemy even uses that to hurt us. “No faith? Tired? You don’t really believe. What a disappointment you are to God. All He’s done for you and you can’t even stand. Pathetic.”
I remember a man who said to Jesus, “I believe! Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)Did Jesus turn, disgusted? If I remember right, Jesus healed that man’s child. He’s compassionate. He understands we’re but flesh. We get tired. That’s why  He insists we love those in His church. He begs unity.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
In the movie, Troy, a fight scene took place on the beach. Achilles’ army came together and locked their shields creating a huge force field protecting the soldiers.
The shields were designed that way. Together, their shields could prevent injury more than one soldier and one shield.
When our brothers and sisters in Christ feel shaky in their faith, that’s not the time for us to abandon them or judge them, using scripture to condemn rather to uplift.
It’s time to lock our shield of faith into theirs and stand beside them. In unity. To help them fight. To believe with them and for them. 
 “…that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” Philippians 1:27
Even Moses needed strength in battle, and his friends held his arms high.
And they won.
So will we.
Have you ever had a friend help you in your faith battle? Ever helped out a friend?
I’m hosting at Living By Grace today, over at Facebook! Come by and join in the discussion on faith.

21 thoughts on “Raising Faith

  1. Awesome post! Beautiful, Jess. And yes, I have a special friend whose words ALWAYS help me prepare through battle……


  2. My sister has always been there for me. Being in the ministry makes it hard to have close friends who you share everything with. There are times when frustrations come FROM the church and you just can't share with church members. My sister is in the ministry, so she KNOWS and can pray, knowing the road I travel and what I need. The cool thing is, I am that for her, as well.

    Great post, Jessica!

  3. Once again, Jess, this is so incredibly powerful. Silly thing, I kept picturing Captain America's shield as I was reading about the shield of faith. It's actually a pretty good mind picture – anytime he faced a fight and his shield was knocked away, he was at his weakest.

    I'm actually going to echo Sherrinda here and say my sister is someone who has helped me in my faith battles…and someone I believe I've helped as well. I'm so incredibly grateful for our relationship.

  4. My BFF and I are always raising our shields together. And Hubby – he and I have matching shields:) What you wrote today – those are verses and thoughts constantly in my prayers and on my lips. I think when you're on the path God's called you to, satan launches a whole attack of fiery darts. And I loved your response from God "you'll have to go through me..and we all know how THAT turned out". How often lately I've said similar words to the enemy. "Listen bud, go ahead and attack, apparently you forget who my Father is."

    Thanks for the encouragement today!

  5. This is so awesome, Jess!!!!! The enemy has surrounded me lately – through illnesses and exhaustion from long work hours – I have let the enemy seep slowly into my life and tell me so many lies. These awesome words you write today will truly be with me the rest of this week as I take up my shield!! THANK YOU!!!

  6. Hitting home today, Jessica.

    Yes, this is a frequent thing and I'm so grateful to have friends to reach out to and those who trust to reach out to me.
    ~ Wendy

  7. So much truth in this here blog post, Jessica. And yes, fellowship is huge. Having Godly friends who can encourage me and exhort me and keep me accountable and spur me onward.

  8. Love this! And yes, I've had so many friends who pray for me and remind me that God's truth is what I need to focus on. I have one mentor who is especially great at this; she encourages my heart so much when she says, "That is a lie from Satan! Don't believe it." Then she quotes Scripture. Such power in the Word.

  9. Woohoo for the shields! I do have a friend I know I can go to and she'll pray. That's a great comfort.

  10. My husband is great about pointing out new perspective that buoys up my faith. Great post – and I love the pictures. You always have such great photos!

  11. Wonderful post, Jess.

    I could feel the power in the verses you laid before us. Woo!

    My hubby is my rock…his faith intertwines with mine. We hold each other up.

  12. Jessica, thank you SO much for posting how God's working as you walk through this study God worked in/thru me. One particular sentence you wrote hit me between the eyes today: "Sometimes the weariness of walking out this thing called faith can be overwhelming." I'm so thankful we can suit up and hunker down on days like that, waiting for Him to strengthen us for the next stage of battle. Love you!

  13. I love this, and I needed to hear it today. Everything you said is so true — we fail to excercise and prepare our faith for the enemy's discouragement tactics. And when we get hit, we conclude that there's something wrong with our purpose, not our preparation.

  14. Hey everyone!

    Sherrinda & Tagg: I always feel blessed to be able to lean on my sister too! Even though we live in different states, we're close and can talk to each other about anything. She's also a social worker,so she has great advice! LOL

    Susan: I have a BFF I share everything with, like EVERYthing and she has raised her shield next to mine so many times!

    Heather: Glad to encourage! When I feel like poo, the enemy has a field day with lies. Grrr…

    Wendy,Katie, & Jessica: Friends have really been life savers for me when I'm going through tough things!

    Loree: Thank you! I always look to my husband as well. He's always right there with me. A blessing for sure!

    Donna: You know how much I love this study and how God just pings things off what you say to me! 🙂 You're a blessing!

    Gwen: You make a fabulous point. Powerful statement, girl! 🙂

  15. I have a best friend in PA who has always been there for me. When I was going through the past four years and thought God had forgotten us, she was there,reminding me of His promises and other times when He had protected me. We need those kind of people in our lives to keep us going!

  16. Wow, Jessica, you know how to preach it. 🙂 I love the depth in this post. And yes, the Lord has blessed me with an awesome group of friends who lift me up in prayer, even when they see my ugly side. 🙂

  17. There are so many ways to say it, but yes…friends are priceless.

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