THE ULTIMATE SHIELD
Discipleship Series by Col. Scott McChrystal
“And in addition to all this, take up the shield of faith.”
(Ephesians 6:16, NIV)
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The Apostle Paul likens faith to a shield. In ancient warfare, soldiers carried rectangular oblong shields about the size of a door. A combatant could crouch behind it and gain protection for all parts of the body. The shield was a mission-essential piece of armor.
In the spiritual realm, faith serves this function—faith activates the power and protection of God in all areas of our lives. Faith is belief and trust in God. It is by faith that you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins. By trusting in Him, you will gain eternal life. It is by faith that you believe the Bible is God’s infallible, authoritative Word. It is by faith that you trust the Lord to hear and answer your prayers.
God tells us this about the importance of faith: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
It’s a scary thought to engage in spiritual combat without your shield of faith. There is no substitute for the protection it provides.
Sadly, too many churches today water down the biblical teaching on faith. Genuine faith or trust in God is much more than intellectual assent that you believe in God. James 2:19 tells us, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” True faith in God is not merely head knowledge. It must take hold of your heart. When that happens, you will desire to follow and obey God in all that you do. Your actions will prove that your faith is real. Let me illustrate.
Starting at a very young age, virtually every time I would go into any large body of water, an earache would follow. I lost count of the painful penicillin shots I got from ages 4-9. My efforts to learn how to swim were hampered. By the time I was 8, most of my friends could swim—I could not. I was afraid to jump into any water over my head. One day, my dad, a strong swimmer, tried to help me overcome my fear of water. He had me stand on the side of the pool while he treaded in water that was 8 feet deep. Holding out his arms, he would say, “Jump to me, Scotty. I’ve got you.”
In my head, I knew Dad loved me and would catch me when I jumped. After all, he was my dad. But my belief about him keeping me safe never grabbed my heart. I wouldn’t jump to him.
Have you made the leap of faith into the saving arms of Jesus Christ? Before you answer, consider these questions about your faith.
Do you genuinely believe you are a sinner? First John 1:9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins? Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Do you believe that faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is the only way by which you can enter a right relationship with God? The Apostle Peter boldly told a crowd in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Have you made a sincere, heartfelt profession of faith in Jesus Christ? Romans 10:9,10 states this clearly: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Like the oath you must take to enter military service, you must genuinely proclaim your faith in Jesus to enter a loving relationship with God. Have you made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ? In not, I would urge you to do so now.
Faith, the ultimate shield, will set you on a life path of victory with an assured destination of eternity with God in heaven.
Chaplain (COL) Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret)
Chaplain (Colonel) Scott McChrystal was commissioned in 1970 and served 31 years on active duty, 10 as an infantry officer and the remainder as a United States Army chaplain. His line officer experience included a tour in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader and three assignments with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As an Army chaplain, he had multiple tours at home and abroad. His final assignment was as the senior chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He retired from active duty in 2005 and served as the Military/VA Representative and Endorser within the Chaplaincy Department for the General Council of the Assemblies of God from 2005-2019.
His decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Army Ranger Tab.
His education includes a Master of Business Administration Degree, a Master of Divinity Degree, a Doctor of Ministry Degree, and graduation from The United States Army War College. Additionally, he serves as a consultant to the American Council on Education. In recent years, he and his wife have written several Christian devotionals. In addition, Scott co-authored a Christian action-novel and served as the managing editor for the The Warrior’s Bible, an application bible for the military community.
Scott presently serves as the Executive Liaison for The Warrior’s Journey, a non-profit organization that supports the military community. He’s also a member of the Distinguished Advisory Board for Battle Ready Ministries.
Chaplain McChrystal and his wife, Judy, live in Springfield, Missouri, and have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.
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