Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: He Is Our Shield
In June of 2008, Deputy Malachi McCoy of Tampa, Florida, was reading the Bible and came upon Psalm 28:7. It reads, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” He was immediately drawn to one line in the verse: “The Lord is my shield.” Using a silver paint pen, the son of a preacher inscribed those words on the black steel plate of his bulletproof vest.
Later that same week, during a gunman’s rampage in northwest Tampa that left three people shot dead and two county sheriff’s deputies wounded, his “shield” did its job. McCoy said his faith — and perhaps the Bible verse he wrote on his vest — has helped him through the ordeal. “I just thought it would be kind of neat to write that on the steel plate,” he said.
Deputy McCoy serves as an example of having the proper object for our faith. Ultimately, his faith is in the power of God, who is His eternal shield. Practically, in everyday life, he wears a bulletproof vest.
There is a great battle going on all around us, and it involves us. Bullets are flying fast and furiously from the number one criminal of the universe, and they are aimed at those whose faith is in Christ and not him. But this one thing is guaranteed – none of those bullets can end our spiritual lives. Through faith in Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, we are shielded by God’s power. We are eternally His!
However, we can be wounded, as were the two other deputies in the Florida shooting spree. They were wearing vests, but the bullets struck them in unprotected areas. Fortunately, their wounds were not lethal.
Every day we walk into a world that is filled with flying bullets and flaming arrows of temptation and sin. It is our choice whether to walk into it fully protected or not. In the case of police officers, they have chosen to protect the vital organs, hoping to survive a wound to a non-vital part of their body. But sin is not like bullets, which damage only the part they hit. Sin is progressive, and behaves more like a deadly virus. It spreads to areas we thought were protected, because it gets in behind the shield. While it can’t end our eternal life, it can and will destroy our physical life.
God has given us all the armor we need to be fully protected from the deadly effects of sin. His Word is filled with instructions about putting on our armor, and with warnings about what will happen to us if we don’t. Here’s an example. Paul is writing to Timothy and says, People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Later He writes again and says, Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Those are just two of the admonitions to live behind the shield and be protected from Satan’s traps. He will trap us with money, and he will trap us with pride in our position. Every day our enemy is setting traps for us in an attempt to destroy our faith in Christ and our public witness for Him. We must take action. We must guard against complacency based on the security we have in Christ for eternity. We must be on guard continually against the attacks of the enemy. It should not be enough to simply wait for the day when we will be finally rescued from this sinful world – we should be living the joys of heavenly victory today, and every day.
So take up your shield of faith, and get every part of your life behind it. Don’t let down your guard for a minute. Any and every part of your life you allow to be exposed to the enemy will be wounded. It will become infected. It will spread. If it already has, then repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. You will be restored. Then trust in Him and not the world. He is your strength and your shield!