Even as Christians we are susceptible to attack. Our health and finances are the enemy’s favourite targets. We lose sight of what Christ bought for us through the atonement and when we do we are open to assault in any area.
We stop watching our backs and we become complacent because of modern medicine and credit agreements. We get sucked into darker places easily once we start relying on our own strength and “street-smarts” to move on in the world. Then once the circle is big enough to trap us, the enemy moves in ans snaps shut, then suddenly we are serving two masters. The trap catches us unaware and our life changes.
We are not aware in this modern world of the battle we are caught up in. John Eldridge likens this world to the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. From a Spiritual perspective we are storming the beaches of Normandy and taking heavy fire all the time. Many of us are walking around broken and bleeding from life-threatening wounds that left untended will eventually kill us.
We leave ourselves open to heartache, sickness and death both physical and spiritual when we lose sight of the battle we are in.
Paul writes to the Ephesians about the Armour of God and lists the items – breastplate, shield, sword, helmet, foot-guards and belt. The list is based around the armour of the Roman empire. Roman legionaries were famous in antiquity for not retreating or turning their back on the enemy. There’s no protection for the back. It’s a blind side.
If we keep facing the enemy we are fully protected. The Belt of Truth holds all the rest of the armour in place. The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds. The Sword of the Word is an offensive weapon which Paul says is mighty to tear down strongholds. The armour of preparedness on the feet lets us move forward to spread the Gospel.
All of this is great, but the most essential part that gets forgotten so often is the shield. Faith is our shield. It protects our blind side. The “fiery darts” Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6 are a likening to the flaming arrows fired in ancient warfare. The shield in Roman armour was thick and heavy. The wood it was backed with would absorb the arrow deeply enough to extinguish the arrows fired. It had to be hooked onto the belt because of the weight. It was not enough to have the shield alone. Truth supports the shield.
What much of the trap of the 21st Century has delivered to us is a false truth. Medicine, although useful – it must be added that right now I myself take several medicines daily for unresolved chronic medical conditions – is not God’s first choice. We are comfortable with it because we can live with the issues that just 50 years ago were almost always fatal unless God intervened. When we need finances we turn straight to a bank or “micro-finance” lender. The concept of turning to God to meet financial needs, despite being a central theme through Jesus’s own teaching, is virtually condemned by most churches (note the lower case “c” there). Christ’s teaching of reliance on God for our daily needs has almost been completely lost. We need to get back to basics, and it protects our blind side.
The enemy will sometimes get a shot past us. We may get wounded or even killed by those shots, but if we keep our mind set on the Truth and build our Faith on that Truth, then we can overcome even potentially fatal wounds.