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Dear Partner,

The apostle Paul wrote to the believers living in Ephesus instructing them how to overcome temptations when they were under attack by the enemy. He said believers overcome temptation in much the same way a soldier protects himself from fiery darts (arrows) launched against him in warfare.

Eph 6:13-16   Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Most people try to use the force of their own willpower to resist temptation. There is usually some measure of success by that method in the short term, but people often give in to temptation when it continues over a long period of time. Temptation is similar to water dripping slowly on a rock. In the short term, the rock is much harder than a single drop of water. But if that dripping continues long enough, the water will eventually penetrate the rock. Paul did not counsel the Ephesians to quench temptation using their willpower alone. He said to quench temptation using the shield of faith. The question is, exactly what is the shield of faith and how do we use it?

As I was meditating on this passage and praying in the Spirit, I heard that familiar phrase from Hebrews 12:2 - "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." We are told Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin. I knew the book of Matthew said Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself. Since he is the author of our faith, no doubt He used the same weapons He expects us to use. The devil tempted Jesus three times. You could say, the enemy launched fiery darts at Jesus three times. How did Jesus use the shield of faith three times to defeat him?

1 - Mat 4:4   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

2 - Mat 4:7   Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

3 - Mat 4:10   Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Notice Jesus did not use some special revelation from the Holy Spirit to quench the fiery darts. He used the same weapon that is available to every believer the written WORD OF GOD! When faced with temptation, he did not remain silent. He did not simply try to rely upon willpower alone. He raised up the shield of faith and SPOKE the WORD OF GOD! He quenched every fiery dart with scripture not just memorized, but SPOKEN IN FAITH!

Let me show you this same principle from another passage. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Abraham concerning his shield.

Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

In this verse God says to Abraham, "I AM thy shield." Wait a minute, I thought we just found out that the WORD OF GOD is our shield. Take a look at this passage:

John 1:1-3   In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:14   And the Word [Logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

This is speaking of Jesus, the "Word made flesh" Who dwelt among us. Verse one plainly tells us that the WORD [Logos] IS GOD! GOD IS OUR SHIELD! When the enemy launches fiery darts against us we have an infallible shield that will quench every single one of them.

What is the shield of faith? It is the written WORD OF GOD. How do we use it when we are under attack? We SPEAK the Word of God in faith! How many fiery darts will the shield of faith quench? All of them! Someone might say, "But Gary, later on in that passage we are told that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God." True, but in that verse a different Greek word is used. It is the Greek word "Rhema" not "Logos." I will teach on that aspect of spiritual warfare in next month's letter.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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