‘…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ Ephesians 6.16
The ‘flaming arrows of the evil one’ sound like something we would rather not think about! Most of us are simply trying to get through life without thinking about subjects as lofty as ‘spiritual warfare’. However, the reality is that although you may not recognise it as such, you and all Christians experience these flaming arrows.
Most commonly they come to you as negative thoughts, seeking to distract you from the wonder of your relationship with God. It is interesting that they are called flaming arrows because, like fire, the effect of them can spread rapidly throughout your whole being. The ‘armour’ you have been given against these flaming arrows is the shield of faith. This is what you hold up to intercept the negative thoughts and stop them spreading.
In practical terms there are two key steps to take. First, it is important to recognise that just because a thought occurs to you doesn’t mean that it is true. Rather than allowing your thoughts to dominate your thinking, have the faith to believe that what the Bible says is the truth.
The second practical step is to intercept these thoughts as soon as they appear and refuse to let them take root within you. You may not have much control over what comes into your mind, but you certainly have a lot of say in what you do with them. Make every effort to stop them taking root so that you will not have to put out the fire that is likely to follow in the days ahead.