Our marriages need protecting. And God has provided us with His full armor to keep us safe and make us strong. This Couples’ Bible Study series looks at each piece of armor as seen in Ephesians 6:10-20 and how it helps us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
“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 6:16)
The fourth piece of armor God reveals to us is the shield of faith: “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 6:16). So let’s look at what this shield represents and how it helps us in our marriages.
The Right Kind of Shield
Roman soldiers carried one of two types of shields into battle, depending on the type of fighting they would be doing. One type was small and round, used typically by cavalry soldiers on horseback. This shield was light, could be held in one hand, and could be used while riding a horse and fighting with a sword in the other hand.
The type of shield Paul mentions in Ephesians was carried by foot soldiers. It was large and oblong, covering the soldier’s entire body from the top of the head to his feet. Behind it, a soldier’s front was completely protected. This shield was necessary to protect a soldier from what Paul refers to as “flaming arrows.” The enemy would shoot great waves of arrows at the soldiers that had been dipped in a flammable substance and set on fire. The Roman shields were not only so large they would cover the body and protect them from being pierced by the arrows, but they also were so thick the arrows would sink into them and the flames would be extinguished.
These shields were made of two layers of wood sealed together, covered with a hide, and held together by iron. One Roman soldier after a battle wrote of discovering 220 extinguished arrows sticking in his shield. Yet he was unharmed.
Paul tells us that faith protects us like this large shield—it keeps us from being pierced and burned, no matter how fierce Satan’s attacks may be. And as we have discussed before, Satan’s purpose is to destroy us and our marriages. His attacks will be fierce.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10: “‘The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’”
And in 1 Peter 5:8-9, Peter writes: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Just like Paul, Peter warns us and calls us to stand strong against Satan’s attacks with our faith.
The Right Kind of Faith
What is this faith that Paul is writing about?
It is not putting our faith and trust in any person. It is not even talking about putting our faith and trust in our spouse, even though we’re called to be one with them. This is because every person will at times let us down. Every person is a sinner who will fail us at times (Romans 3:23).
God is the only one we should put our faith in and trust completely. We find this in Psalm 118:8: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”
We can and should trust our spouse, but the only person we can know for certain will never let us down, in any way and at any time, is Christ. Satan will fire at us his flaming arrows of doubt, jealousy, anger, selfishness, lust–the list could go on. But God’s shield will stop each and every one and keep them from getting through to destroy us and our marriages.
Faith brings us to God and keeps us in touch with Him–the One who will keep those flaming arrows away.
Earlier in Ephesians 2:8, Paul tells us: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Faith saves us, and faith keeps us certain that the God who saved us will be true to His Word.
The writer of Hebrews assures us with these words in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
When we have God standing between us and Satan, Satan will not be able to get his flaming arrows through to us. He will not be able to harm our marriage.
Paul asks us in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Then Paul answers his own question with these words in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When we have the protection of God’s shield through faith in Him, nothing can overcome us.
Faith is complete trust in Christ. It is a close, personal relationship with Him. Such a relationship built on complete faith in Him cannot help but provide what we need for a strong, growing marriage.
Questions for Discussion
- Do you have a close personal relationship with Christ? Without it, you will not have the shield of faith to withstand Satan’s attacks. If you want to know more about how to have this personal relationship with Jesus, see Meet Jesus.
- Do you place more faith and trust in your husband or wife than in Christ? Discuss why it important to trust Christ first. Discuss how trusting Christ first will help improve your trust in each other also, and will improve your marriage overall.
- To grow in your faith in God, regular study of His Word and prayer are important. Do you spend time both individually and as a couple praying and studying God’s Word? We designed our Couple Connect time to help you study God’s Word together. (You can download our free ebook here: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.) You also need to study God’s Word, and pray on your own. Many good Bible studies can be used. Two I recommend are Encounter with God and Daily Encouragement. Encounter with God, produced by Scripture Union, takes you through the entire Bible with a daily devotion every five years. Devotional guides can be received by mail if you’re old school like me, or they can be accessed online or on your smartphone. Daily Encouragement is an online daily devotional by Steven and Brooksyne Weber. You can receive it through email or listen to a podcast on their website.
- One of the ways we can grow in our walk with the Lord, both individually and with each other, is when we share the peace God has given us with others. Think together about ways you can work together to share this peace with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Next week we will continue our study of the full armor of God, and how it impacts our marriages by discussing the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17).
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the PROTECTING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE ARMOR OF GOD series:
Part 1–We’re in a Battle
Part 2–The Belt of Truth
Part 3–The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 4–The Shoes of God’s Peace
Part 6–The Helmet of Salvation
Part 7–The Sword of the Spirit
Part 8–The Power of Prayer
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.