Day 159: All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

"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

When I lived in Georgia, it was my first real experience with cold weather. I mean COLD weather. The kind of weather you have to layer your clothing to live in. So I learned to layer. I usually started with a cami, something close to my skin and snug fitting. Then I put on my long sleeve layering tee. It covered my arms and added another layer to my torso. And then I would finish it off with a warm sweater, usually a turtle neck, a very thick turtle neck. Then I donned warm pants, thick socks, winter boots, and lastly, if I was going outside, I put on a coat over all of that.

But layered up as I was, nothing could protect me from a cold and blowing rain, except a really good umbrella. Which I quickly learned the value of when my cheap umbrella turned inside out and protected me from NOTHING. Wet from head to toe is not much fun in frigid weather. And considering I worked an hour and half from my home at the time, I only had to experience it once to know I never wanted it to happen again.

I think about my shield of faith like that umbrella. It's not a very soldier-like analogy I know, but it paints a realistic picture for those of us who have never gone off to war, or who can't really relate to "battle gear."

It really didn't matter how layered up I was with my other protection if my umbrella failed me, or if worse yet I forgot to pick it up at all. "In addition to all this, pick up your umbrella or you will find yourself cold and wet and miserable."

The purpose of a shield is to be our first line of defense. It blocks the onslaught of the attack, be it icy raindrops or fiery arrows. It deflects the attack. Ever seen an umbrella that absorbs? No! If it's a good one, the raindrops bounce right off. But if it is going to work at all, we have to PICK IT UP and hold it over ourselves or it is useless.

All of the rest of God's armor up to this point is something we wear, and once we put it on, we don't have to do much else with it except move around in it. But the shield, it requires us to actually use it. How to do that . . . that one seems much harder than opening an umbrella and holding it over our heads.

Our faith, faith in God, is a constant daily trust in God's promises, His word and His character. Without it, we are done for. Without it, the enemy's fiery arrows will reach our breastplate. And over time, the constant onslaught of his attack will breach our breastplate.

I picked up my umbrella in preparation for the the rain that I assumed would come. I pick up my shield in preparation for the attack I know will come.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

All that to say, "my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name." His promises, His Word, His character. I hold those things over me. And I trust them.

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