Heart Meditation 15 - The Shield of Faith - David Mitts

"in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Eph 6:16



To listen to the audio-only version click below 

In contending with the evil of this present darkness, we have been pressing in for the activation of the eyes of our heart to shift our perceptions into the vision of the kingdom. The Apostle Paul, in training up his disciples in Ephesus said:

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," Eph 1:18

Paul connects how we see to what we can hope for. Our inner imagination, the eyes of our heart needs enlightenment. How is that accomplished? By bringing our desire to see to the Lord who activates us into that seeing. Let me show you what I mean. Look with me at 2 Kings 6:15-16. In this segment of the history of the Chosen people, the Prophet Elisha has drawn the attention of the enemy who has sent an army to destroy him. In the natural things look bleak. Elisha’s servant sees the size and scope of the threat and thinks that it is all over. What does he base his doom and gloom on? How he sees things.

"Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “This is hopeless, my master! What are we to do?” And he said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are greater than those who are with them.”" 2Ki 6:15-16

Elisha, however, has a different perspective than his servant on life. He operates in the revelation that states that no weapon formed against us will prosper reality. (IS 54:17). He knows that faith is the key, and that faith is affected by the voice we listen to, the inner conversation of the heart. So, like Paul, he knows it’s all about the enlightenment of the eyes of our heart. He prays:

"Then Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, please, open his eyes so that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." 2Ki 6:17

Once the servant’s eyes are opened to the spirit realm, which is the realm of truth, reality is transformed. The transformed seeing of the eyes of the heart transforms what our hope is for, what we expect to happen.

The writer of Hebrews states it this way:

"Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. For by it the people of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the world has been created by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible." Heb 11:1-3 (NASB)

If we only pay attention to the first verse it seems to emphasize faith as the target. But by the third verse we see that what is possible in the seen realm, or the manifest realm, is dependent on what is seen in the invisible realm, the inner realm of the heart. Hope is the expression of possibility. We hope for what is not yet manifest, but possible in the realm of what we see in our hearts. If we cannot see it in our heart, we don’t even hope for it. If we cannot hope, then faith is impossible. Everything is determined by what we can see in our reality.

As a friend of mine once taught me, you don’t often get what you want in life, you get what you picture. Let’s look at Abraham, called in scripture the father of faith. Genesis 15:1

"After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram also said, “Since You have given me no son, one who has been born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the LORD; and He credited it to him as righteousness." Gen 15:1-6 (NASB)

When we look at this interaction carefully, it reveals the operation of the spirit realm. It begins with a vision. The scripture gives us a strange picture. It says the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. What happened? Clearly, the “word of the Lord” was a voice that Abram recognized in the vision. Abram “saw” the Word and then Identified Him as Lord God. By opening the eyes of his heart, Abram was able to see possibilities in the realm of the Spirit, what the scripture defines as hope.

In the natural, Abram was childless. His natural sight could only see the barrenness in his home and the possibilities defined by what he saw. The only possible solution to his childlessness was to pass his inheritance to Eliezer of Damascus, his servant.

Think about your own life. What is your situation now? What is possible based on what you see?

Abram had one essential ingredient for miracles. He was willing to change how he saw things. By being willing to see differently, it opened his ability to hear differently. He could then sh’ma. How does this happen? It happened by His acknowledgment of the Lord as His Lord.

Let’s go back one chapter to Genesis 14. After rescuing Lot, Abram went to Melchizedek,

"And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has handed over your enemies to you.” And he gave him a tenth of everything. Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the possessions for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth," Gen 14:18-22 (NASB)

Melchizedek, priest of God Most High blesses Abram, and Abram, in turn, surrenders himself to God through the tithe. Then the world tries to bargain with Abram through Sodom, but Abram declines because he declares God to be his source.

The tithe is an outward expression of an inner reality. Abram has declared God Most High as His Lord and Savior. This declaration is speaking not only verbally but with Abram’s whole being. This is the heart space that opens up Abram for the voice of the Lord coming to Him in a vision.

You see you will not hear from God what you haven’t declared Him as Lord over. This is the root of the sh’ma. Sh’ma means to both hear and to obey. You cannot hear if you are not already decided to obey.

This relationship of the heart to God, poised for obedience is called faith. Faith has been represented as the strength to expect the impossible. This is a byproduct of faith. Faith is a trust in the goodness of God and a choice to rely on His goodness. In this place, the impossible is the norm. Blessing becomes the ground of being that we live in.

"for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'" Act 17:28 (NKJV)

This relationship describes covenant. Covenant may begin as a position, like becoming man and wife, but if it is to become real, it must move beyond that to a relationship that is living and one of love which is made real by sacrifice. No longer do we do what we do as a label, but out of a love motivation. In this place, God becomes a living shield.

"After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."" Gen 15:1 (NKJV)

What I want to emphasize is that God as our shield is really God as our love. This is what is meant by the armor of God called the shield of faith.

"above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Eph 6:16 (NKJV)

Faith is a shield because it is an expression of love.

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." Gal 5:6 (NKJV)

Love is developed through communication. Any relationship that will succeed will do so because of communication. Therefore, the scripture tells us that faith, trust in the goodness of God, comes or is developed by hearing, by sh’ma.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Rom 10:17 (NKJV)

So, Abram, has his eyes opened to the realm of God and that realm is revealed as the word of God which comes to him in a person.

This is the foundational reality of the true protection of the Lord. What we call the shield of faith is really a description of the assurance that we live out of the covenant relationship we have with God. This is also described as the Kingdom of God.

The “kingdom” is the place where the authority of the king is manifest. In this way, the kingdom is all about trust. What we trust unto God becomes the kingdom in our lives. There is no place known as the kingdom. Any place can be the kingdom based on yielded authority. As we surrender territory in our lives to Him, that surrender becomes immediately kingdom territory.

The kingdom encompasses us and envelopes us but only as we yield to Him. As we yield to Him, He becomes our shield. The symbol of Israel, the “magen David” or as we call it in English, the star of David represents the yielding of Israel to God.

David declared this after God delivered him from Saul. Read 2 Samuel, Chapter 22. I want to specifically draw our attention to verse 31:

"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." 2Sa 22:31 (NKJV)

The key to the shield of faith is trust. The more we trust the Lord, the more we are protected from the fiery darts of the wicked one. What are his darts? Lies are a bold-faced strategy to undermine our trust in God and His goodness in our lives. If Satan can get us to trust only in ourselves, or in the government, or science, then he has effectively isolated us from trusting in and getting to know the goodness of God.

Activation: Trust inventory

Ask the Lord to show you the condition of your heart in terms of surrendering through obedience to the Lord. What are you still holding onto as yours alone? Do you believe God actually created you with a purpose? Will you trust Him in that?

 

 


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