13Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. 16In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere. (Ephesians 6:13-18, NLT)
In the SIM USA office, we often use the term “link shields together” as we pray for our each other, our missionaries and ministries. When Paul was describing “The Armor of God” in Ephesians 6, he included the shield of faith. Paul, being under house arrest with soldiers coming and going, would have had a lot of time to think about how each piece of armor would illustrate these spiritual truths.
Some historians say that the Roman shield was as tall as the soldier, covered in leather so when soaked in water it would extinguish flaming arrows. These shields could also be linked together to form a wall when soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder.
When linked together, it becomes both a defensive and offensive wall. We link our shields together by prayer, and in faith to move forward for the gospel and defend ourselves from the enemy’s fiery arrows (and he does shoot discouragement and distraction arrows!)
Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Our extended faith-family linking shields of faith together in prayer as we move forward for the gospel, following Christ by God’s grace and for His glory where he’s placed us.
But this only works when we are linked TOGETHER. We are not to live this life of faith in Christ alone. We need one another to encourage, strengthen, challenge and “link” together.
God has been teaching our family this lesson again as Tami has been struggling with her back issues recently. Our faith-family around us, at church and at SIM and in our neighborhood have been “linking together” with us in so many different ways. Praying, supplying meals, sending encouraging texts or emails, praying and filling in for me at SIM when needed. We are so grateful.
But there is a greater faith-family, a larger sphere of special people to us. Our partners in ministry. We have been privileged to walk with and serve with those who have “linked their shields” together with us from the first time we served short-term in Bolivia (in 1993), to our student ministry in Marshalltown (1994-2003) and since the first mention of how God was leading us to Bolivia long-term (2004).
Over these years, our partners have prayed, encouraged, challenged, sent texts and emails, hugged and partnered in ministry WITH us. You have “linked shields” with us, serving with us where God has led.
From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you for “linking shields” with us as you pray with and for us!