Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered the first three items of the armor of God: the girdle, the breastplate, and the shoes. The girdle is related to truth, the breastplate is related to righteousness, and the shoes are related to peace. We have seen that truth is God expressed in our living as our standard, pattern, and principle. Righteousness is Christ in our enjoyment and experience as the covering of our conscience. If we have truth in our living, we shall certainly have righteousness as our covering. The Bible reveals that righteousness issues in peace. This is peace both with God and with man. It is the very peace Christ accomplished on the cross for us. Therefore, to have the girdle, the breastplate, and the shoes is to have truth, righteousness, and peace. When we live out God in our daily living, we are covered with Christ as our righteousness, and we have peace as our firm foundation. Then we are prepared to fight against the enemy.
Verse 16 says, “With all these, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.” We need truth to gird our loins, righteousness to cover our conscience, peace as the standing for our feet, and faith to shield our entire being. If we live by God as truth, we have righteousness (4:24), and righteousness issues in peace (Heb. 12:11; Isa. 32:17). With all these, we can easily have faith as a shield against the flaming darts of the evil one. Christ is the Author and Perfecter of such faith (Heb. 12:2). For us to stand firmly in the battle we need to be equipped with these four items of God’s armor.
The shield of faith is not something that we put on, but something that we take up in order to protect ourselves against the attacks of the enemy. Faith comes after truth, righteousness, and peace. If we have truth in our living, righteousness as our covering, and peace as our standing, we shall spontaneously have faith. This faith is a safeguard against the fiery darts, the attacks, of the enemy.
We need now to consider the shield of faith in detail. We certainly are not to have faith in our own ability, strength, merit, or virtue. Our faith must be in God (Mark 11:22). God is real, living, present, and available. We need to have faith in Him.
We also should have faith in God’s heart. Every Christian must know both God and the heart of God. God’s heart toward us is always good. No matter what may happen to us or what kind of sufferings we may undergo, we must always believe in the goodness of God’s heart. God has no intention to punish us, to injure us, or to cause us to suffer loss.
Along with faith in God’s heart, we should have faith in God’s faithfulness. We may change, but God does not change. As James 1:17 says, there is no shadow of turning with Him. Furthermore, He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), but is always faithful to His word.
God is not only faithful, but also able. Therefore, we need to have faith in God’s ability. In 3:20 Paul declares that God “is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think.”
Still another aspect of our faith is faith in God’s word. God is bound to fulfill all that He has spoken. The more He speaks, the more responsible He becomes to fulfill His own word. We can tell Him, “God, You have spoken, and Your written Word is in our hand. Lord, You are bound to fulfill Your word.” Hallelujah for God’s faithful word!
We also need to have faith in God’s will. Because God is a God of purpose, He has a will. His will with respect to us is always positive. Hence, no matter what befalls us, we should care not for our happiness or our environment, but for God’s will. Our environment may change, but God’s will never changes.
Furthermore, we must have faith in God’s sovereignty. Because God is sovereign, God could never make a mistake. Under His sovereignty, even our mistakes work for good. If God did not sovereignly allow us to make mistakes, we could not possibly make them. (However, this does not mean that we should deliberately make mistakes.) When we are wrong, we need to repent. But there is no need for us to regret, for that means we are lacking in faith. After we repent for a mistake or shortcoming, we must still exercise faith in God’s sovereignty. We could not have made that mistake if He had not sovereignly allowed us to do so. Hence, there is no need for regret.
We all need to have a full faith in God, in God’s heart, in God’s faithfulness, in God’s ability, in God’s word, in God’s will, and in God’s sovereignty. If we have such a faith, Satan’s flaming darts will not be able to damage us.
The flaming darts are Satan’s temptations, proposals, doubts, questions, lies, and attacks. Flaming darts were used by warriors in the apostle’s time, and the apostle used this as an illustration of Satan’s attacks on us. Every temptation is a deceit, a false promise. The flaming darts include the Devil’s proposals that come to us. As we are waking up in the morning, often Satan will make proposals to us. For this reason, we need to get into the Word the first thing in the morning. If we are not in the Word, we shall have no covering against the Devil’s proposals. Doubts and questions are also flaming darts of Satan. Have you ever noticed that a question mark looks very much like a serpent? It was Satan who asked Eve, “Hath God said?” (Gen. 3:1). When the Devil questions us in this way, our response should be to flee, without even talking to him. Many times Satan attacks us with lies. But the shield of faith also guards us against these flaming darts.
The Devil’s flaming darts come as thoughts injected into our mind. These thoughts may seem to be our own thoughts, but they are actually Satan’s. I used to believe that such thoughts were my own. Later I began to realize that they came from Satan. I discovered this after such thoughts persisted in coming after I had decided not to entertain them. I saw that these thoughts were not mine, but Satan’s. Prior to that time, my practice was to confess all these thoughts to the Lord. Now I refuse to confess them. However, some may think that even though these thoughts come from Satan, they are injected into us because we are evil. Do not believe this. Rather, you should say, “Lord, I am fallen, but I am under Your cleansing. Satan, this thought is yours, and you must bear the responsibility for it. I will not share this responsibility.” Nevertheless, due to an overly sensitive conscience some continually confess things that are caused by Satan. Never confess thoughts injected into you by Satan in his subtlety.
In order to have the faith to be defended against Satan’s flaming darts, we need a proper spirit with a conscience void of offense. However, faith is not mainly in our spirit nor in our conscience, but in our will, the strongest part of our heart. The New Testament says that we believe with our heart (Rom. 10:10). According to our experience, this faith in our heart is related mainly to the exercise of our will. No one with a will like a jellyfish can have strong faith. In James 1:6 we are told that he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind. Such a person has a vacillating will. Hence, if we would have faith, we need to exercise our will.
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