The Shield of Faith
Protection against Doubts
What is faith?
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of the things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (Heb 11:1 AMP)
What is hope?
Hope is a positive expectation of good.
In other words, to have faith is to have an expectation of good, even though you cannot see it.
Why is it that some Christians seem to have so much more faith than others?
There are two opposing views to this question.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3 NIV)
This is part of Paul’s teaching to the Roman church about spiritual gifts. They were obviously rating gifts and considering some more important than others, so he is telling them that they were to honour each other and not get exaggerated ideas of their own importance according to the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit.
Many modern commentators believe that what this is saying is that you have to think of yourself according to the specific measure of faith which God has given you. This implies that different people get different measures of faith. In fact, some translations say ‘a measure of faith’ instead of ‘the measure of faith’.
However, some Bible teachers dispute this. If you read the King James Version, it is quite clear that God has given to every man the same measure of faith.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 KJV)
This is one of the reasons that teachers such as Andrew Wommack prefer the KJV. Sometimes the modern versions slant their translations according to their beliefs. One perfect example of this is in Isaiah:
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. (Isaiah 35:7 NIV)
The Hebrew word tanniym, which has been translated as jackals in modern versions, is translated as dragons in the KJV. And why do modern translations reject dragons? Because dragons are mythical creatures which do not really exist! Or so they would have you believe. Descriptions of dragons from medieval times are clearly some form of dinosaur. But then, evolutionary teaching insists that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years before man came on the scene. This, in spite of the fact that fossil evidence has produced human footprints in the same layers of sediment as dinosaur footprints!
If you are interested in the ridiculous lengths to which some translators will go, just read Job 40:15-24 for the description of the Behemoth, which the NIV, in footnotes to the text, tells us in all seriousness is possibly an elephant or a hippopotamus; and Job 41:1-34 for the description of Leviathan, which we are expected to swallow is a crocodile! (The description of a Brachiosaurus fits the description of Behemoth far better, while a possible candidate for Leviathan is a Kronosaurus or a Sarchosuchus. If this topic interests you, the website creation.com has tons of interesting information.)
So, although I personally prefer to read my Bible in contemporary English, I always refer back to the KJV whenever something debatable comes up. The KJV translators did not have minds influenced by modern thought. They translated the Hebrew and the Greek according to what it plainly says.
Back to the fact that we have all been given the same measure of faith.
This is confirmed in Galatians.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
At the moment of spiritual regeneration (when we are born again), we receive the faith of the Son of God. We have the same faith as Jesus! It is therefore logical to deduce that we all have the same measure of faith.
(This, unfortunately, is another one of those verses influenced by doctrinal differences. Most modern versions translate the faith of the Son of God [genitive/possessive case] as faith in the Son of God [changing the given genitive case to the dative case] or by the faithfulness of the Son of God [changing the meaning of the Greek word pistis from faith to faithfulness.)
To sum up:
- Faith is being certain of a positive expectation of something which you cannot see
- We live by the faith of Jesus
- We therefore all have the same measure of faith
Why then do we get such differing results?
The answer is very simple: because of unbelief.
Unbelief is not lack of faith. This is best illustrated in Matthew 17:14-20 which describes the occasion when Jesus healed the epileptic boy.
Jesus had taken Peter, James and John with Him onto the mountain where the transfiguration took place. When they came down from the mountain to rejoin the other disciples, they found a distraught father who had brought his epileptic son to Jesus to be healed. As Jesus was not there at the time, the disciples had tried to heal him but had failed.
In Matthew 10:1 we are told that Jesus had given them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. From Mark 6:7-13, which is the account of this same occasion, the gospel writer adds that they drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them (verse 13 NIV). See also Luke 10:17.
Of course, Jesus healed the boy and later, when the disciples asked him why they had been unable to do so, he told them that it was because of their unbelief.
Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as small as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20 KJV)
Once again we refer to the King James Version. The modern versions translate the Greek word apistia as little faith (NIV), or littleness of your faith (AMP). Now, I am no Greek scholar, but if pistis is faith or belief, then according even to the English language, apistia will not mean less faith, but the direct opposite - disbelief or unbelief!
Look at the following paraphrase of Jesus’ words according to some of the modern versions: You couldn’t do it because you don’t have enough faith. But I assure you that even if your faith is as small as a mustard seed, you would be able to move mountains.
This doesn’t even make sense. Jesus has just said that it’s because of the small size of their faith and in the same breath that they would be able to move mountains with very small faith!
So I think we can safely keep to the meaning of the King James Version!
Jesus said that it takes only a small amount of faith to move mountains. What then is the problem? The problem is not the size or amount of your faith. It is the size of your unbelief which throws a spanner in the works. What it amounts to is that unbelief contaminates your faith. The problem therefore is the quality of your faith.
But how can it be possible to have faith and unbelief at the same time?
Remember: faith is being sure of what you cannot see. Unbelief, on the other hand, is based completely on what we can see! Faith goes according to spiritual truths, unbelief goes according to material facts.
Now, let’s take another look at the account of the healing of the epileptic boy, this time from the Gospel of Mark. (Mk 9:14-26)
Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed of a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. (Mark 9:17-18a NIV)
Mark goes on to describe how, when Jesus addressed the demon, this is exactly what happened. It can therefore be assumed that this also occurred when the disciples tried to drive it out. It can also be assumed that this was probably the first time they had encountered this kind of demonisation, and the performance the demon put up completely overawed them. Instead of focusing on the spiritual truth they knew, they focused on the facts they could see.
In the case of healing for example: I have a sore knee. I know the spiritual truth that by His stripes I HAVE BEEN healed. (This is how my chronic cystitis, my chronic candida, and a swollen and very painful thyroid gland were healed.) But my knee is still sore. Why? After all, I have the faith. Unfortunately, in this instance, my faith is not pure. It is contaminated by unbelief and so I have not yet been able to receive my healing. A whole study could be devoted to this topic alone, but is not relevant here. Suffice to say that unbelief negates faith.
This brings us to the doubts which the enemy does not hesitate to feed into our minds.
But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord… (James 1:6-7 NIV)
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21 NIV)
All this shows the vital importance of the Shield of Faith.
...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16 NIV)
Without it, those flaming arrows of doubt will penetrate your mind. The resulting unbelief will prevent you from receiving from the Lord and this will further diminish your faith.
When the enemy steals up on you and whispers a doubt, you have to nip it in the bud. Once it takes root, it requires a lot of effort to eradicate it.
Your response to Satan will depend on what the doubt is which he is planting. Say for instance that your problem is chronic illness. What you need to do is search your Bible for verses to do with healing. (If you don’t have a concordance then simply google Bible and healing.) Write them out and then read them daily, preferably out loud. (The more frequently, the better.) In this way you will renew your mind. (Romans 12:2) Whatever your problem is search for relevant verses and follow the same method. Not only will you gradually and steadily purify your faith by renewing your mind, but you will have an effective shield to ward off those arrows of doubt.
So then, whenever you find yourself doubting what the Bible clearly says, then lift your Shield of Faith and declare:
Get behind me, Satan! You are a liar. I believe the Word of God, which tells me that by His stripes I am healed and that He sent forth His word and healed me. Away with you!