On darts, missiles and clenched jaws…

Ephesians 6

I don’t think the shield of faith is supposed to give you clenched jaws.

But judging by my tense shoulder muscles and that old familiar TMJ ache, that’s where I’ve been attempting to carry the shield of faith this week.

Or not.

People hear “spiritual warfare” and they think of head-spinning, pea-soup-spitting, gutteral-noise-making, wild-eyed people requiring some super-hired holy person with great Scriptural knowledge.

Warfare in the spiritual realm doesn’t usually look like that.

“Fiery darts,” by the way, translates as “missile, dart, javelin, arrow.” We’re talking weapons of all sizes. Sometimes you get missiles, sometimes darts.

The missiles are ones that we often think to pull out the shield for – “Run for shelter! That’s a biggie!”

The darts? Not so much.

      “What am

I

    going to do about this?”
      “Where
    is that going to come from?”
      “How can

I

    take care of that?”

Clenched jaws. Sore muscles.

What is it about the little things that makes me forget that I already have a shield of faith?

When we see the Greek word “faith” used in the Bible, it is always from God. It is never something that can be produced by people. That thrills me. I’m not so great at this on my own. The Roman shield to which Paul referred was big. I have full protection.Shield of Faith

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5)

Cool, huh? And there’s more.

Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

My problems right now aren’t huge. Not in the grand scheme of things. But they are big to me. And you better believe that the enemy is going to utilize every negative thing in my life to make me worry, to fill me with anxiety, to make me walk around with a clenched jaw.

Fiery darts. Shield of faith. Flaming missiles. Shield of faith.

And Paul said it quenches them. Extinguishes them. Puts them out.

Neither Paul nor Jesus said the problems automatically go away. The darts (or missiles) aren’t necessarily the problems themselves. Usually, it is the way the enemy uses your problems. Jesus said we “will have tribulation.” But He promises peace – “that in Me you may have peace.”

Peace.

Just the word itself brings a calming breath.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

Paul says the shield of faith extinguishes the attacks of “the wicked one.”

And because we don’t always recognize problems as attacks, we don’t always realize we need to fight them.

Life’s problems may be just that. Life’s problems. But we are told to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8)

He is going to take advantage of every situation.

What didn’t strike me until writing this, is that this verse immediately follows the one I have claimed as my own since fourth grade:

“casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Another breath. The jaw relaxes.

The preface to that is verse six: “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,”

Cares and tribulations come. We are assured of that.

I have to humble myself before God.

Then when I’m humble enough to realize that I can’t fix it on my own, I’m able to cast my cares on Him. In faith.

“Can’t do this on my own, Lord.”

    “God, please, help me to trust.”
      “Father, will you fix this? It’s a mess.”

Because He cares for me. He wants me to. I’m really not being a pain when I ask for His help.

That’s all part of vigilance. Of being steadfast in the faith.

It’s hard to hold up my shield of faith when I’m holding on to a pack of troubles!

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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I'm a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard - that's where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.
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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I'm a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard - that's where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.

10 thoughts on “On darts, missiles and clenched jaws…”

  1. Angela, as I’m reading this my jaws are clinched and I realized you’re writing my story including TMJ, shoulder and other pains. Thank you for this timely message that I’m clinging to.

    1. Recognizing it – at least for me – is a huge step to releasing it. I’m glad you stopped by and that something here spoke to your heart. Praying that this will fall easily from your shoulders into His arms.

  2. Walking around with a clenched jaw — that’s such a vivid description of worry going deep into who we are. Carrying a burden we aren’t supposed to carry alone.

    Thanks for linking up with me today on #livefreeThursday with such powerful words.

    1. The jaw is definitely my “tell.” I’ve been in a similar spot to the one you are in now and for me, it was the “smaller” areas that tended to catch me off guard. I am so thankful for the people God brought into my life when things were rough. He used them to give me His strength.

      Thank you Suzie for providing strength for so many others and for welcoming the prayers of your sisters. One more way that God provides for us to give our worry to Him.

  3. Angela, those little problems can do us in, can’t they? Those are the ones I tend to hold on to also, and think I can “fix” on my own. Hate to trouble God with something so small, you know? But you are right! I need to bring everything before Him. I’m so thankful that He doesn’t mind 🙂

    1. Do you ever have those, “Umm, Lord, I hate to bother You, but…” kind of moments? Then I head slap myself and remember there is nothing too small for God!

      It’s like when our kids are small, “Mom, will you tie my shoe?”

      “Lord, I have a knot I need help with…”

      “Sure sweetie. Glad you asked…”

  4. “What is it about the little things that makes me forget that I already have a shield of faith? When we see the Greek word “faith” used in the Bible, it is always from God.” I LOVED this Angela! Of course…the perfect remedy is faith. And OF COURSE the remedy comes from Him. So blessed to hear this. Grateful to have stopped over from #livefree!

    1. Thanks so much Cindy. I love that having faith isn’t dependent on me being special! I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you will do so often.

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