“Hath God said?” It was the serpent’s question to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it was the first of many times over the next six thousand or so years that Satan would come at believers with the very same tactic: fiery darts of doubt. After all, Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. What better way to undercut the child of God than to get him/her to doubt or even question God and His Word? This week, I had an experience with a double dart of doubt and discouragement. I praise God for the shield of faith and the one little addition to it that took the fire right off the shots.
God Said, “There’s More.”
Almost two years ago, God gave me a ministry called “Taste of Church to You.” Each week I attach a message and a Bible verse to individual treats like chips or snack cakes. On Sunday mornings before church, I stop by the main street in my town and share them (and their little bit of “church”) with the men who wait for day jobs. When I have leftovers, and I usually do, I take them to a laundromat on the way to the church.
This past Sunday morning after I left the laundromat, I had a feeling of anticipation. I thought, “There’s more.” I had some snacks left even after the second stop and understood that I wasn’t quite done for the day. I started to scan the side of the street. Sometimes the homeless will sit outside the Waffle House or under the awning of one of the retail stores just back from the street. I thought there might be someone God specifically wanted to reach, and I was excited at the idea that God would use me for that.
Fiery Darts of Doubt and Discouragement
But as the final retail store hit my rearview mirror and I passed over the last main street before my church, I started to think maybe I had just imagined it. Maybe it wasn’t really God talking to me. Maybe it really hadn’t been His voice after all. (Whizz-thwap!) Then, just as I got near the entrance to the church, I saw two men walking down the street. One was carrying a backpack, and the other was pulling a rolling suitcase. They were going to cross right in front of my church’s drive. My hope surged again. I knew that was God talking!
When I got to the parking lot, I pulled into my usual spot. I was taking my time since the men had a way to go before they got to the church, but they were walking faster than I thought. By the time I got to the entrance to the parking lot, they had already passed the drive and were disappearing out of view. Just then a brother in Christ came out of the church to meet his aunt. I dropped my purse at his feet and took off running up the steep incline and onto the sidewalk in front of the church.
I’m not much of a runner, and my skirt wasn’t helping. I called out to the men, but they were wearing earbuds and didn’t hear me. Suddenly I had the thought, “Why don’t you turn around? Are you going to run all day? You’re never going to catch them.” (Whizz-thwap!) For a moment I considered it. Then I realized that the men were almost to the next street, so they would have to pause to look both ways. Finally, one of them sensed me behind him and turned around. I gave him the snacks and headed back to the church.
The Saturated Shield of Faith Will Quench Fiery Darts
In Roman times, soldiers carried shields that were about three and a half feet tall. In preparation for combat, they would soak those shields in water until they were completely saturated. They knew that when the battle began, so would the flaming arrows. And those arrows could destroy a bone-dry shield. A wet shield, on the other hand, would extinguish the flames on impact.
Ephesians 6 describes the spiritual armor every child of God needs for the battle we face every day. Ephesians 6:16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” As believers, our shield is our faith in God. When we soak our faith in the water of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26), it will extinguish the fire of those darts. Notice that it doesn’t say the arrows won’t come. It doesn’t even say the arrows won’t hit their marks. What it says is that when we soak our shield of faith in the water of the Word of God, the fire will be extinguished. The assault will stop at an impact instead of spreading to destroy the whole thing.
My Lesson for Darts of Doubt and Discouragement
I then thought of the many times I had heard God speak but the enemy tried to talk me out of believing it was God. The voices would say things like “You’re just imagining it.” “That’s not really God,” and “You just believe what you want to believe.” These are the darts that can hit with a thump, but 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we walk by faith and not by sight. It’s imperative that we learn God’s voice and remain steadfast in belief, watching for the very voices that tip the enemy’s hand.
And how many times will the thoughts of discouragement come just as we are about to complete the mission God has for us? After what seems like a hard run, we are so close to doing the job God called us to do, but then there come the darts. Thoughts like “You will never make it,” “It’s too hard,” and “This will never end” will slam into us with force. But Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust God and lean not on our own understanding in every situation. When we hear these voices, we can be encouraged that it’s a sign that something good is about to happen.
Soak Your Shield to Quench the Darts
In these last days, the battle seems to rage hotter and hotter every day. The enemy is using all his resources because he knows his time is short. How much more, then, should the child of God intentionally prepare for the fight? Prayerful study of the Word of God every day will ensure that our faith is saturated. That way, when the enemy’s flaming arrows come, they will be extinguished on impact. We might take a hit, but our faith will remain to fight another day…and another. Until the day we hear that last trump. That’s the day when Jesus Himself will return to end the war, and we will all celebrate His victory.
If you like to hear about spiritual warfare, try Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe. Or, try God Trains Our Hands for War. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.