Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl
"In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Ephesians 6:16
The shield of faith is a powerful weapon in the battle against evil. It is defensive in nature, and requires a spirit of submission for it to be effective protection in the middle of a firefight with the enemy. When Dana and I heard the news of her cancer, it shook my faith in God to the core. We had experienced the faithfulness of God for years, but nothing had prepared me for Dana's "Great Adventure." She amazed me with her capacity to see the hand of God in this new challenge. She stepped up to the battle line with a quiet confidence, and calm to begin the fight of her life. What I felt was a great disaster, she received as a great adventure. She got behind the shield faith. She had picked up that shield as a young girl, and found it was no longer child-sized, but had grown to be just what she needed for what she faced.
The shield of faith has the capacity to be what we need it to be when the enemy starts firing at us. The real test of faith is making the right choice between fighting back in our own strength, or to getting behind the shield of faith. Trusting Jesus for our salvation is just the first baby step we take in submitting our will to God's plan for our lives. Learning to live in His will for our lives will take a life time of hiding behind the shield of faith. The enemy lives to intimidate, and irritate the children of God. Their arrows are meant to shake our faith, and cause us to react and retaliate in the flesh. At first glance, our shield always looks too small to protect us from what the enemy is sending our way. It also looks very insignificant to the enemy. That is why the forces of evil are stunned with their attacks do not have the desired effect. They cannot comprehend how such a small shield can give such great protection. Anyone receiving enemy fire will discover that their shield of faith has the capacity to grow to meet the circumstances that come their way. The person who chooses to fight in his own strength, and show his flesh rather than get behind the shield of faith is going to get burned.
The flaming arrows used by the ancient warriors were dripped in tar and then set aflame before they were launched. They were terrifying instruments of death and destruction. If the metal arrowhead did not penetrate the shield and reach the skin of the soldier on the receiving end of the attack, then the melted tar was still a danger. It could still drip down and scald the hands, and feet or blind the eyes when it splattered against the wooden and rawhide surface of the shield. The tar would insure that the fire would remain on the surface and would consume the protective layers if it was not extinguished. The flaming tar could not be wiped off without burning a hand. Any attempt to remove it or rake it off with the sword would mean lowering the shield. This would expose the attacked soldier, and leave him more vulnerable to more damage.
Wherever the tar landed it would burn all the way until it cooled off. It would leave a terribly painful wound and a deep scar if it ever made contact with the skin. The smoke of the burning tar would bring tears to the eyes, and choke the lungs of those who had to breathe it. The aroma would trigger memories in the minds of those who had experienced the scorching impact of fiery, tar drenched arrows. Often soldiers who were untouched themselves by the arrows would be terrified by the screams of the men in the line who had been victimized by them. This would often lead to panic in the ranks. Fear is one of the enemy's greatest weapons.
As Dana took her place behind her shield of faith, I began to see her shield and her faith grow. No matter what the enemy fired at her, she placed her trust in God. I would ask her what God was saying to her, and her answer was often these two words, "Trust Me!" This is a great lesson for self-made men to learn. There are some things in life that a man just can't fix. Breast cancer has a way of emasculating a man. It reveals his limitations. This should not bring resentment, but relief. When a man comes face to face with something only God can fix, it is time to give God the elbow room to get the job done. The safest place to be when the attacks of the enemy come are behind the shield of faith. Anyone who wants to be large and in charge is going to get burned because their flesh will be a perfect target for the enemy. Learning how to fight like a girl will require a man to trust in God more than he trusts in himself. Shields up!