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Friday, January 10, 2014

Taking The Shield Of Faith

Ephesians 6: 10 – 16, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the Wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery Darts of the wicked one. NKJV
Amazingly, the book of Job allows us a glimpse into the heavenly realm. One day Satan came before God, and God asked him what he had been doing. He told the Lord that he had been going to and fro throughout the earth. It was at this point that God asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job. On the surface, it appears that God is simply inviting Satan to wreck havoc on Job’s life. However, in reality, God is allowing us to see the protective hedge that had been hidden from us because of the fall of man.
There is so much to discover from the book of Job about God, His hidden wisdom, and Satan; however, today I want to discuss the hedge that was around Job. When God asked Satan if he had considered Job, Satan’s reply clues us in on something that is a key in the understanding of spiritual warfare. The Devil reminded God that God had placed a protective hedge around Job and Job’s livelihood; therefore, Satan could not touch him.
When the people of God are ignorant about God and His protection in our lives, it will cause us to open ourselves to worry, doubt, unbelief, and fear.  Likewise, we see how Job’s ignorance of God’s protection from Satan caused him to have fear as a father. Job constantly sacrificed to the Lord because he was afraid that his sons and daughters would sin against God and be destroyed…this tells us that Job didn’t have personal knowledge of God’s hedge. Fear filled Job’s heart because he didn’t have the truth to establish his faith upon. Therefore, he continually sacrificed out of works.
There are two words used to define “hedge.” One is protection; however, the other is restraint. We know from reading in Job how the hedge served as a wall of protection in the spirit realm; nevertheless, how does it serve as a restraint? The Lord warns us in Proverbs to guard our hearts with all diligence. This requires us, as God’s people, to show considerable restraint when it comes to living in a fallen world that is filled with great temptation. As we restrain ourselves from the pleasures of this world, we are allowing the hedge of God to keep us from stepping out of bounds into disobedience. Even so, the only way for us to restrain ourselves is through personal knowledge of God’s Word and promises.
Now let’s fast forward a few thousand years. When Jesus came to earth, He gave the people who heard His message the opportunity through faith to be protected from Satan, sin, and destruction. Once we place our faith in Christ and become born again, we are no longer of this world; we are hidden in Christ. Just as there was a hedge around Job, there is a protective force surrounding the children of God.
We see this in Matthew when Jesus tells Simon that Satan asked God for permission to sift him as wheat. Simon was protected from Satan’s ability to touch his life while he was walking with Christ. However, Simon was about to deny Christ and therefore, give place for the Devil to operate in his heart through unbelief. Even when Simon was willing to be used by the enemy to deny his knowledge of Christ, Satan still had to gain access from God in order to invade Simon’s life.  
We must take responsibility if we desire to keep God’s protection on our lives and have hearts that are kept from Satan’s deceitful plans. We have been given the shield of faith as part of our spiritual armor. If we use our faith to quench or extinguish the fiery darts of Satan, then we will also keep ourselves from giving in to his lies. Eve didn’t use faith when she was approached by Satan; consequently, he led her astray from God’s protection. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He answered those temptations with the Word of God. We, too, must use the Word of God through our faith to adequately address the issues we face from Satan.  
Whenever we stand in faith on God’s Word and Satan tries to trip us up, God’s Word will keep us from falling prey. In the book of John, Jesus tells us that we must continue in His teachings; if we choose to progress in them, we will come to know the truth, and the truth that we know or place our faith in will set us free from bondage. Are you building your faith and life on God’s Word?
Standing on the Rock,
Pastor Asa Dockery  

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