In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Ephesians 6:16
Flaming arrows are more insidious than regular arrows. With regular arrows, one only has to worry about the small area hit or wounded by the arial projectile. But when a flaming arrow lands, its damage starts spreading to anything flammable. You don’t have to be all that accurate to create a lot of devastation with flaming arrows.
And so it is with the evil one, our enemy, Satan. His flaming arrows are deceptions, lies, thoughts that fly into our mind that are not ours but that he tries to convince us are our own. His flaming arrows are temptations, dangling carrots, sweet smelling death. And if we allow any of these to “land,” the damage spreads. Deceptions and temptations never stay in one spot. They are like a white, puffy dandelion head that, once rooted, spreads seeds of sin far and wide into our lives. They are flaming arrows.
But we don’t have to let these flaming arrows land. We have a shield that prevents any and all damage. As soon as the flaming arrows of the evil one hit this shield, they not only stop in their tracks, but they are fully extinguished. Their destructive fire can no longer spread into our lives. The name of this powerful shield is faith.
Sometimes, I think we are busy asking God to protect us, and He looks at us on our knees praying, our shield collecting dust on the ground beside us. Again, we see in this passage the Greek word meaning “to take up.” Our faith, just like our armor (verse 13), is something we must pick up and put on.
Faith is another word for obedient trust. It means doing the things we are told to do by the Lord even when we don’t fully understand them. It means trusting that God is good. It means trusting we are who He says we are. It means rejecting the lies of the enemy in favor of the truth of Scripture.
“Oh, Lord, please protect me!”
“Sure. Pick up your shield.”
“But, Lord, would you help me with all of these attacks in my life?”
“Yes. I love you! Pick up your shield.”
“Oh, God, I need you to come and rescue me from all of this!”
“Okay. I’ve already given you everything you need. Pick up your shield.”
“God, where are you? Why haven’t you protected me from all these flaming arrows?”
“I have. Please. Pick. Up. Your. Shield.”