(Week 4) Shield of Faith

Cambridge terms run for 8 weeks, Thursday-Wednesday, and people here often keep track of where they are in term by marking the fact that we are ‘near the end of Week 1’ etc. There is also the notoriety of the ‘Week 5 blues’ – supposedly because most people are worn out by that point in the term, but find themselves only at the half-way point.

Last term, to make the way we relate to the different weeks a little more positive, Siân and I named the weeks by different fruits of the spirit. This term, the weeks are named after ‘the armour of God’, which can be found in Ephesians 6. 

Rachel – knowing where my power to face the world comes from

I am writing this blog post at a point of fairly severe tiredness, having just crossed over into the second half of term. Honestly this week has felt like a challenge, for no particular reason other than general weariness.

What is it to take up the shield of faith in a week like mine?

I have decided that to take up the ‘shield of faith’ is to know where my power to face the world comes from. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or what I feel, or know, but in what, and all that, Jesus Christ is.

Part of this faith, as a dependence on a power that is not my own, is sustenance in times of weariness. The verse on the shelf in my room is from 2 Corinthians 4:

‘For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as servants for Jesus’ sake’.

It serves as a reminder to me that my power is found nowhere other than in the name of Jesus. I need only be a servant, equipped with that power, shielded from the ‘flaming arrows’ because that same power is my refuge and protection.

In wielding and bearing, but not always understanding the power I am equipped with, I possess faith in the childlike way Jesus speaks of. This is not faith in the sense of blind acceptance, but faith akin to the way that children wonder at things, persist in asking questions of things they do not understand.

This last week, taking up a ‘shield of faith’ has meant confidence in where my power and strength to face the world comes from. It has meant rejoicing in the refuge that faith equips me with. But it has also meant wondering at things, and asking and repeating questions at points of weariness and points of wanting to retreat and not step out. Points at which I struggle to step into the power that is not my own though I know my own has run out.

I take up the shield of faith.

Reflect – some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is it you need shielding from?
  • What do you think of when you think of ‘faith’?
  • Where does your power come from?

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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