From the beginning Satan has come to God’s people suggesting that He cannot be trusted. He wants you to think that you need to take matters into your own hands if you’re going to get anything out of this life. He wants you to believe the doctrine of God’s providence is a miserable thing instead of a blessing – that instead of casting yourself upon Him, relying upon Him and believing Him through trials that you would, instead, murmur and doubt and worry. How do we answer him? We take up our shield of faith.
We are in a fight against principalities and powers who are bent on our spiritual ruin. And much of the damage Satan does is by means of these darts that he hurls at the people of God. He comes – as Joel Beeke put it – making suggestions, inserting evil thoughts in the the mind swaying the understanding with arguments and promises.
Our defense is the shield of faith. We see that when Jesus was tempted He used the shield of faith. Satan came tempting Him, and Jesus responded with Scripture. In doing so He was using the shield of faith. He had a choice as we do: believe Satan or believe the Bible. Jesus believed the Bible and so he never succumbed to the temptation.
This will be our best defence. God has given a complete set of armour, but above all else we need to take the shield of faith to quench these fiery darts.
In this series I would like to name 8 of the darts Satan uses and then comment briefly on how we can use the shield of faith to quench those darts.
First, Satan tries to get us to distrust God’s providence. This was the first tactic he used with Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus was hungry and Satan suggested that Jesus should take matters into His own hands and turn stones into bread. Jesus had come to offer Himself as the bread of life, to show His people their need for spiritual food and to teach them to rely on their Heavenly Father. So Satan comes trying to cause Jesus to stumble on that very point.
Satan does the same with us. Winslow asks, “Are we in affliction and sorrow? He tempts us to question God’s goodness and love. Are we prostrate on a sick and suffering couch? He tempts us to doubt the wisdom and kindness of our Father…”