The shield of faith, in God’s eyes, is the most essential part of the armor. Paul says that we are to take it up above all the other pieces because the shield of faith is held outside of your body to ward off the devil’s weapons.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:10-16)
We can see how vital the shield of faith is because of the Greek word Paul uses to describe the weapon of the enemy, the fiery darts. This word is “belos,” and it means “a specially made, long slender arrow with a hollow interior that was filled with flammable fluids that upon impact, explode into a raging fire. Also, an arrow with its tip wrapped in fabric and soaked in flammable fluids than lit on fire when shot.” The belos, an advanced Roman weapon, was like a grenade. It was a hollowed-out arrow filled with a flammable liquid that would explode upon contact.
Paul shows us that although the devil shoots exploding arrows at us, our shield of faith can put out that fire. We can extinguish the arrows that try to burn down our soul and takes us out. These arrows are thoughts with a spiritual genesis and a spiritual atmosphere. They are not healthy thoughts, but ones filled with an explosive and destructive consequence if we let them into our conscious and act on them. This is why we need our faith shield up.
In Paul’s time, Roman soldiers shield was almost the size of a door. It was four feet tall, and rectangular, made from six or seven layers of treated leather that were compressed together. The shield was stronger than a metal one and lighter to carry. It was the only part of the Roman armor the required daily service. Every day, inside a Roman soldier’s tent, they spend time with the shield, on the ground, rubbing oil into it with rags. This kept the shield from becoming brittle because if it went untreated or not maintained, it would harden and shatter.
As the soldiers marched out to battle, they would stop at large drums of water. They would dip the shields into the water and pull them out were dripping with fresh water. This allowed them to extinguish the flaming arrows as they came hurtling in on them.
This is a picture of our walks with Christ. We have to maintain our shields of faith daily. We have to spend time with the Holy Spirit, allowing His anointing oil to keep us pliable and sturdy. We have to dunk ourselves into the Word of God (water) and allow it to coat us, ensuring that we can put out the fires of the enemies weapons.