When I was young in my faith I learned something that was particularly helpful for me and I believe is one of the keys to spiritual and mental health-- having a shield. In Ephesians chapter 6 talks about putting on the full armor of God. As I was reading through the this passage one day during years at Greenville College Ephesians 6:16 jumped off the page at me.
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 NIVAt that time I really needed to know how to deal with some hurtful messages that were being given to me. I was an upper classman and a friend of mine who was a brand new Christian was being given some teaching that was unBiblical. So I shared Scripture with my friend. He stopped being under the teaching of this false teacher. This other student teaching these unBiblical teachings of course did not take well to my sharing the truth with my friend and that student lashed out some pretty hurtful accusations at me. We all have fragile parts in us and the insults were hitting those fragile insecure places inside of me. I did not know how to handle it so I spent time in prayer and study of The Word of God. The Lord showed me that those insults were not HIS intention for me and the Lord did not want them to enter my heart. The Lord showed me that I needed to take a hold of the shield of faith and that this shield is there to keep those flaming arrows from wounding my heart.
That shield served and protected me well for many years. I found hope, healing, and strength as I continued to walk with the Lord and grow in His love and grace. Then over a decade after that incident in college I found myself in a situation where I became wounded. I fell down and when I got up my shield was gone. Every time I got up it seemed that flaming arrows were being hurled at me and knocking me down again. I was confused, disoriented, and could not find my shield. After a while I stopped looking for my shield. I hated my miserable existence without my shield.
Then about a month ago I was praying just pouring out the pain, disappointment, confusion, and heartache to the Lord. It was at that point the Lord said to me, "Charity, you lost your shield." I then said, "Yes, I did Lord. I can not find it." The Lord then said, "I have it. Do you want it?" I said that I did and HE gave me my shield back.
At that point I took the shield, got behind it, and am now resting on God's shoulder while he heals me and restores wholeness. I know the shield is working too because I have had flaming arrows of judgement, gossip, nonacceptance, unkind messages verbal and non verbal, and others shot at me. None of the arrows were able to wound me because the shield the Lord designed specially for me took and extinguished them before they got to my heart and soul. Life behind the shield is one of peace and well being all of which is being restored to me as I stay behind the shield. I hope to never lose my shield again.
Life behind the shield is so much better as I run the race marked out for me as Hebrews 12:1 talks about. My race looks different from the race of someone else as the Lord designed us each to be unique with different gifting, abilities, and callings. I will talk about how each of us is called to run our own race in another post one of these days, but for now we need to remember to get behind the shield of faith so we can grow, heal, and run the race.
When You Are A Soldier
by Stephen Curtis Chapman
When you are a soldier I will be your shield
I will go with you into the battlefield
And when the arrows start to fly
Take my hand and hold on tight
I will be your shield, 'cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier
When your tired from running
I will cheer you on
Look beside you and you'll see you're not alone
And when your strength is all but gone
I'll carry you until your strong
I will be your shield 'cause I know how it feels
When you're a soldier
I will be the one you can cry your songs to
My eyes will share your tears
And I'll be your friend if you win
Or if you're defeated
Whenever you need me I will be here
When you're lost in darkness I will hold the light
I will help you find your way through the night
I'll remind you of the truth
And keep the flame alive in you
And I will be your shield
'Cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier