There’s nothing like a trial to expose our weakness. Mine happens to be fear and lack faith. In every trial I have ever been through these 2 rise to the surface like oil in water – so evident, so easy to see. But in this trial they are coming out like never before. It seems like the bigger the stakes the more my weakness and frailty is exposed.
Yesterday I was listening to Joyce Meyer talk about these things as she taught on Ephesians 6. She talked about lifting our shield of faith in the midnight hour when we are under attack. There have been several nights lately that I have very much struggled in the midnight hour- alone, in the dark, and full of fear and hopeless thoughts. In those moments it seemed almost impossible to have faith. It felt like I didn’t have shield of faith at all.
But the truth is that I do, because faith is a gift from God. He has given me that shield, it is from Him, not something I could buy or find or acquire, it is a gift. The problem is that all too often it lays at our feet totally ineffective in our life and circumstance. The shield of faith is heavy and weighty and needs a strong muscle to lift it up. And there in lies our problem. I have a weak faith muscle. I am out of practice lifting it up in battle. I have become weak and lazy in everyday life and so my muscles are hurting. When I need it the most I feel like I can’t lift the thing up. It is easier to sit in defeat and cry and feel overwhelmed. But I can’t give in to those feelings, I have to lift that thing up no matter how bad it may hurt.
Now, I am no athlete and exercise is not on my top five (or ten :o)) list of fun things to do. But I do know that when I exercise my body hurts at first and then begins to get stronger each time I do it. Eventually I begin to feel better when I exercise. The same goes with faith. It hurts to lift that shield up, it is awkward and cumbersome, but the more I do it, the longer I can hold it up and the stronger my muscle gets. Eventually holding it up will just become second nature. It will be like getting dressed or spending time with the Lord, just another necessary part of my life and walk with Christ. We all need the shield of faith. Some days more than others, but lets not forget that without faith it is impossible to please God.
So my encouragement today to you and to me is that we have all the faith we need. We just need to practice lifting it up and strengthening our faith muscle. My prayer is that you would get lots of practice doing this when life is calm and you are on the “practice field” so to speak. Because when he calls you to war, and you have to walk out on that battlefield, you want to be strong and ready to lift it up.
“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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 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 6:13-16