Guest Writer: Jennifer A. Jenkins
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
Recently I have been in a weird head and spiritual space. I attribute some of it to the fact that I enrolled in seminary and am being forced to think in a completely different way, but I know that it is also because I am waiting on and expecting God to make good on some promises He set into motion almost a decade ago. Prayers were prayed, fasting engaged in, and obedience practiced, and yet I have not seen the manifestation of what was promised.
I got to the point where I was just…done. I was sick of begging God for what He told me He would provide and just stopped everything. I stopped praying, I stopped reading, I stopped fellowshipping, I…stopped. I did not stop as an ultimatum or as a ploy to get God to do what I wanted Him to do (what He promised to do), I stopped because I was tired, because I was sick of being tired, and honestly because my belief was lacking. I was in a space where I was unsure of how to continue to press forward, where I was sick of being talked about and messed with when all I was doing was what God had called me to do, and most of all sick of putting in work and not reaping any of what I had sown. Have you been there? My faith was faltering and I had absolutely no idea what to do.
I was not in a dark space per se but it was definitely dim. Then, I sat on my couch one evening after a long day. I had the lights out, it was dark outside, my scented wax was melting in my glass candle/oil burner, and I looked up at the ceiling and saw something I had never seen before. The letters of the word “Faith” that were fashioned on the lip of the candle warmer were reflected into shadow on the ceiling and so letters that were no more than 2 inches large on the warmer, showed up at least 1-2 feet large on my ceiling. As I sat in the dark, the word “Faith” shone clear as day on the ceiling and something within me clicked. The scripture that tells us to stay equipped with the shield of faith (Eph 6:16) came to mind in the midst of my ‘aha’ moment and I realized why I was in the weird space I was; I had allowed my shield to lower because I so badly wanted to see what was in front of me and it was as I was in the midst of lowering my shield that I also allowed my faith to falter.
See in ancient battle, the shield was the one piece of armor that was to be held up at all times and it was only lowered in order for the bearer of the shield to attack the opponent. If the shield-bearer was not moving to strike, there was no reason for them to lower or move the shield to see what was ahead of them, they simply allowed the horse to carry them until opposition was met. Ancient Roman soldiers even dipped their shields in water in order to extinguish the flaming arrows the enemy often shot (hence the wording of Ephesians 6:16). Our issue, as modern-day Christians, is that we often desire to see what is ahead of us because we believe that if we know what it is coming, we can move to avoid it and therefore avoid any of the harm/danger that comes along with it; this is especially true when we feel as though God has gone silent. The greatest issue with all of this is that we are wrong. The answer is not to lower the shield to get a look at what is happening, the answer is to continue to walk, to continue to ride, and to continue to work according to the word that was delivered long ago.
But Jenn, how do I walk according to what God said even when it seems as though He has gone silent and the very thing on which He spoke looks dead?
Honest answer? You just do.
There is no magic formula or established set of steps that you follow in order to continue moving forward, you just do. You muddle through the craziness, you work through the mess, and you walk regardless of whatever else it is you want to do. It is difficult and it does not come easy but it is necessary. How do you keep walking? You look to Ephesians 6:16 and you:
- Pick up your faith. All too often we put down our faith in favor of what we see or what others say. By picking up your faith you are taking a clear and proactive stand against the enemy in which you state that you refuse to believe what you see over what God has said; that you choose to stand believing that the word spoken to you is truth and is just waiting to be manifest on Earth.
- Dip your shield in water. Not the water you get out of the tap, but in the LIVING water. Your douse your faith with WORD. Whatever you are believing God for, match it with scripture and speak (pray) God’s Word back to Him. Remind God, and yourself, of what God said He has in store for you (Isaiah 62:6-7).
- Extinguish the enemy’s arrows. Time to go to battle. This is a reminder that faith requires WORK (James 2:14-26). You cannot just say that you believe, you have to put some action behind that belief. Go to work living out your purpose, pursuing your passions, and operating in your calling. Allow God’s grace, mercy, love and greatness to shine through you so that others might see and above all live in purpose.
Do not allow your desire to see what is ahead override your belief in God’s ability to do what He said He would do. Even I have to be reminded that He is not a genie that will grant your every request nor is He a magician where things will pop up right as he says the “magic” words. Some things take time and in that time people and things grow and mature. Use this time to be fashioned into a greater version of yourself; He will show Himself faithful if you allow Him the opportunity to do so.
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