The Shield of Faith, Part 2

At this point in the discipleship journey, it is not uncommon for God to allow Satan to bring extremely difficult circumstances into our life. However, while Satan intends these things for evil, God allows them for good.
Like all circumstances, God uses these attacks of Satan to conform us to the image of Christ. During these attacks we are forced to choose between our flesh and Christ. Faith allows us to choose the words and ways of Christ. Faith gives us the ability during these difficult circumstances to choose to respond with the words and ways of Christ rather than with our words and ways.
The more times this occurs, the more often we choose to respond with Christ’s words and ways. The more we respond with Christ words and ways, the more we are conformed to the image of Christ and the more honor and glory we bring to Him.
This is why James wrote:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Paul wrote: And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
Peter wrote: You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith —more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
As difficult situations and relationships arise, disciples need to see other believers who have suffered and are suffering. Up to this point disciples have focused mainly on the Gospels, the words and ways of Christ.
The next part of scripture that we point disciples to are the faith stories of Abraham, Joseph, Paul, et cetera. In these stories they can see people suffer while exercising faith in God. We see them believing God at His word rather than simply reacting to their immediate circumstances.
But not only do they need to learn these stories, they need to see real life stories. This is why Relational Discipleship is so important. Disciples need to see mature believers reacting with faith in God in difficult situations and relationships.
Ultimately, we come to a point in maturity where we quickly see difficult situations as an opportunity to become more like Christ. This does not mean that they are not painful, but that we do not question why they come. We can clearly know from scripture why they come and we can endure them by holding up the Shield of Faith.
The Shield of Faith is specifically faith in God:
After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great. But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Look, You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.” Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that [numerous].” Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
How happy you are, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is the shield that protects you, the sword you boast in. Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread on their backs. (Deuteronomy 33:29)
God—His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him(2 Samuel 22:31)
Lord, how my foes increase! There are many who attack me. Many say about me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah. But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. (Psalms 3:1-4)
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield. (Psalms 5:11-12)
My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. (Psalms 7:10)
I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies. (Psalms 18:1-3)
May the Lord be praised, for He has heard the sound of my pleading. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore, my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. (Psalms 28:6-7)
Now the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him— those who depend on His faithful love to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine. We wait for the Lord; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His holy name. May Your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in You. (Psalms 33:18-22)
Lord God of Hosts, hear my prayer; listen, God of Jacob. Selah. Consider our shield, God; look on the face of Your anointed one. Better a day in Your courts than a thousand [anywhere else]. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Lord of Hosts, happy is the person who trusts in You! (Psalms 84:8-12)
Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless [us] . He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; He will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. (Psalms 115:9-13)
As we are placed in difficult situations and relationships, we can exercise faith in God by speaking the words of Christ and following the ways of Christ instead of our words and our ways. When we choose to respond with our words and ways, we are not placing our faith in God; we are placing our faith in ourselves. Faith in Christ is also faith in His words and His ways.
If you would like to learn more about why it is so imperative that we obey and imitate Jesus as His disciples, please start here and follow the links at the end of each page…

The Four Principles of Discipleship…

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