Overcomer

Day 4 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Overcome Fear with Faith

For the Roman soldier, the best way to ensure a weapon didn’t penetrate his armor was to deflect it before it reached him. This why every soldier, from commoner to commander, carried a shield into battle. The shield served a vital function in protecting the Roman soldier’s life . . . and the “spiritual shield” that Paul instructs you to carry serves a vital role in protecting your life as well. As Paul states, “Above all, [take] the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV).

Throughout your life, you will be bombarded by thousands of fiery arrows launched by Satan and his minions, and the only way to protect yourself from these projectiles is through faith. Note that faith involves more than mere belief. Faith is an active practice built on belief. Faith is not ambiguous or unsure but a concrete conviction. Faith is a solid and unshakeable confidence in God built on the assurance that He is faithful to His promises. By faith, you move forward even when the destination is not clear (see Hebrews 11:1). 

For followers of Christ, a lack of faith is seldom a matter of disbelief—it’s usually a matter of fear. This is why, if you want to be an Overcomer, you have to strengthen your faith and trust in the Lord. There are five key strategies to help you do this. First, hear God’s Word. Hearing the Word spoken and preached by others allows Scripture to reach you and fill you in an essential way. Studying the Word on your own anchors the spoken Word in your life. When you hear the Word of God or read the Word of God and then respond to the Word of God, your faith grows. 

Second, recognize that problems will drive you to the Lord and teach you to lean on Him. No one wants problems. We all want life to be smooth sailing. We want happy relationships, fulfilling jobs, great health, and obedient children. But the truth is problems will grow your confidence in the unseen reality of God and His involvement in your life. So don’t run from them.

Third, realize you need people. Many Christians believe they are supposed to take up the shield of faith on their own. But in Roman warfare, the shield was most effective when the soldier combined his shield with the shields of other soldiers. God will often choose to strengthen your faith through the words or presence of other people. So don’t neglect the benefit of following Jesus as part of a community—and let God grow your faith alongside, and as part of, His people. God never intended for people to follow Christ alone. 

Fourth, accept God’s purpose for your life. God will often give you a purpose that requires you to trust in Him in special ways. This is one reason why Jesus loved to give His disciples tasks and challenges to build their faith—sending them out two by two to preach, cast out demons, and heal the sick. Giving you this purpose is God’s way of stretching and strengthening your faith. 

Finally, recognize that to grow your faith you also need God’s perspective. It isn’t the size of your faith that matters but the size of your God. For your faith to be effective, you must keep your focus on Him. Problems are not big or small in God’s sight. It’s just your perspective that needs enlarging so you see God as capable of responding to the faith you have. As you shift your focus from yourself to Him and pick up your spiritual shield each and every day, you will find that you will grow and you will become a fearless Overcomer for Christ!

Respond 

When have you seen your faith in God grow the most? How did God’s Word play a part in this growth?

How has the shield of faith protected you from fear and evil?

How can sharing your story of faith build your faith and encourage someone else?