Almost every little boy loves playing “Cowboys and Indians.” However, kids pretending to fight in the Wild West is quite different from real warfare with real weapons. Take, for example, the frontier practice of staging surprise assaults using flaming arrows. This tactical strategy caught the other side off guard. Flaming arrows would start a fire on a canvas covered wagon, disrupting military lines and causing the occupants to focus on the blaze rather than the attacking enemy.
Flaming arrows were not primarily meant to kill or destroy; they were meant to distract.
Your enemy wants to distract you, sister. So he can blindside you. And listen to me—he is not indiscriminately shooting these arrows of his. He is tailored in his strategy. He’s studied your tendencies and habits, your deepest fears and weaknesses, and has aimed at those areas in particular. He knows he can’t destroy you. You’re eternally secure in Jesus. But he fully intends to sidetrack your attention by setting any number of internal fires ablaze in your life—like insecurity, intimidation, anxiety, worry, or busyness. He wants you to be unfocused while he sneaks up from behind.
In Ephesians 6, Paul conveys the belt, breastplate, and shoes as a spiritual uniform that should be worn by believers at all times. Minute by minute. Day by day. But with the shield of faith, he commands for it to be “taken up.”
Look at it this way: A nurse might wear scrubs every day to work because it’s her uniform. But when the need arises, she will pick up a stethoscope, blood pressure machine, or any number of tools to use on her patient. Likewise, we must always wear our daily, divinely given uniform, but also be prepared to “take up” the others when required.
The first of these pieces of armor is the shield of faith. The moment when we first sense a flaming arrow infiltrating our life in some way, we activate faith as a shield of protection over our lives.
Don’t miss the irony here. The enemy sends flaming arrows into your life specifically when you are being called to walk in faith. Those arrows are deliberately intended to disable you from doing the only thing that has the power to extinguish them: walking in faith!
Faith causes fiery arrows to fizzle. What is God asking you to do? Do it! In Faith.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV