16 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.
Men, Satan, enemy number one, has multiple ways of attacking a believer. He is relentless in his attacks and knows exactly when and where to attack you for maximum damage. Paul tells us that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against powers of evil. Therefore, one cannot win a battle with Satan and his demons by using physical weapons. Only supernatural weapons will bring victory.
In this verse we see that Satan is attacking something specifically in the believer’s life. They are “flaming missiles,” “fiery darts” (KJV) and are dangerous in the hands of Satan. He has a target, and that target is your faith. In warfare, a dart would be lit so that when it hit its target, the fire would spread and destroy, thus a flaming dart.
A dart is something external, from without. Satan orchestrates circumstances to attack your faith. A dart suggests speed. Satan attacks suddenly, without warning. He shoots his darts at you during those times when you least expect it, at times when you are most vulnerable or most victorious.
Why does he target your faith? Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Satan doesn’t want you to please God. It is your faith that overcomes circumstances and brings victory. Satan wants you to be defeated. It is your faith that brings answer to prayer. Satan doesn’t want you to pray and get answers from God. Faith brings hope. Satan wants you to be discouraged. Faith invites God into your situation. Satan doesn’t want God to be involved. That’s why he attacks your faith. Faith here is practical. It speaks of your dependence upon God. Faith is standing on God’s Word believing that He will do what He said He would do.
Notice Eight of Satan’s Favorite Darts:
I. The Dart of Doubt
This dart is designed to plant doubt in your mind about God such as, “If God is so good why did something so bad happen to you?” “God isn’t really listening to your prayers.” “Can you really believe what God said in a book written thousands of years ago?” “Why do those who don’t serve God seem to be happier and better off?” Satan wants you to doubt God’s Word. Satan will also throw darts at you about your salvation, attempting to get you to doubt that you have been saved, although you have done everything the Bible says to do to be saved. Satan will put doubts in your mind about other people suggesting, “You can’t trust him” or “She isn’t what she seems.”
II. The Dart of Discouragement
This is one of Satan’s most used darts because it is so effective. Discouragement is when you lose God’s perspective. The devil orchestrates circumstances to discourage you. With this dart Satan is attempting to get you to take your eyes off of Jesus. He tries to get your eyes on people, circumstances, and things. Why? People will disappoint you. Circumstances will discourage you. Things will fail you. This dart most often is designed to attack the emotional areas of your life. To get anger, fear, and worry to replace joy, peace, and love. You can become bitter. Truly, this is at the top of the list of Satan’s tools; perhaps it’s his most favorites.
III. The Dart of Deception
One of Satan’s names is “Deceiver.” He is the master deceiver. That is his nature. He makes things appear one way when they aren’t that way at all. Satan attempts to deceive people about God’s Word, hitting at their beliefs. Why? Paul tells us in Romans 10:17…
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
God’s Word builds your faith, something Satan knows is destructive to Him. Jesus warned us that many would come supposedly claiming to be Him or have a word from Him. The deception dart makes things look worse than they are, and that affects your attitude. This dart also makes things look better than they are, that’s temptation. It makes bad things look good, wrong things look right, good things look bad and dangerous things look safe.
IV. The Dart of Desire
The devil attempts to get you to desire that which cannot be fulfilled and be in the will of God. He primarily does that in three ways John tells us: I John 2:16.
This is a tremendous insight into how Satan operates to get you to desire something that is outside the will of God. “World” refers to that anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible, anti-things of God system. He uses the flesh, that part of you still desiring to do wrong. “The lust of the flesh” refers to Satan appealing to the physical part of you, doing things with your body that will dishonor God. “The lust of the eyes” refers to Satan attempting to affect your thought life. What you see affects your thought life. “The pride of life” refers to doing things your way instead of God’s way.
V. The Dart of Delay
The devil delays certain things to get at your faith. Whether it’s delaying an answer to prayer as he did in Daniel 10, or delaying something good happening to you. He tries to make you think your prayers and faith aren’t working. He tries to get you to delay decisions that you need to make. Procrastination is Satan’s way of preventing the blessings of God on your life.
VI. The Dart of Distraction
If Satan cannot get you through a direct attack, he will attack someone whose defeat will tempt you to get your eyes off of Jesus. That person’s defeat has the potential of defeating you. He will send distractions, problems, people issues, work problems, money challenges, and all kinds of circumstances to get your eyes off of Jesus. He wants you to change your focus from up to around. While you are distracted, here comes a dart right at your faith.
VII. The Dart of Destruction
The devil by his very nature is a destroyer. He is out to destroy those who pose a threat to him. Faith poses a threat to him for sure.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Remember this dart is flaming, destroying everything it hits. These darts of destruction are aimed at your marriage, your home, your children, your testimony, your attitude, your body, your mind, your emotions, your spirit, your character, and your morals.
VIII. The Dart of Denial
Denial is pretending it is no so when it is so. Denial is failure to admit the truth and accept reality. It fails to take responsibility. It’s failure to admit when you are wrong or blaming someone else. Denial’s favorite four words are: “It’s Not My Fault,” or three words, “I Didn’t Know.”
In Ephesians 6:16, Paul talks about a shield. This shield was like a door (2 feet by 4 feet). When the flaming darts hit it, they would stop the darts and extinguish them. How does it work?
- You have faith in God’s presence when it looks like He’s not there.
- You have faith, believing God’s Word even when it looks like the circumstances have the last word.
- You have faith that God is even when it looks like He isn’t.
- You have faith by standing on God’s Word even when the winds of doubt, floods of discouragement and the lightning of tough times and bad news come suddenly upon you.
Wingmen, it’s time to take up the Shield of Faith!