I want to be honest about something here. Even though I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember, a few years ago I found myself questioning my faith in Christ, who He is, and His work in my life more since I became a mom than I ever did before.
Weird, right? Why, at this point in my life, would I be so tempted to doubt God? I think I know the answer. See, in the Bible, parents are commanded to raise their children, teaching them about the Lord (Eph. 6:4). We are instructed to have His words on our hearts, teaching them to our children, talk about them all the time and make them a central part of our lifestyle (Deut. 6:7-8). If parents take these instructions seriously, our children are very likely to follow in our footsteps and become followers of Christ who will someday teach their own children about Him.
But, I believe that there is a spiritual battle taking place because our enemy, Satan, wants to prevent us from knowing our Creator and having eternal life. He wants to keep us from knowing that our identity is in Christ, that He died for us and forgives us for every sin, if we just ask. Satan doesn’t want us to experience the peace that gives us assurance of His love for us, no matter what our circumstances look like. He wants to destroy our faith that keeps us from giving in to the temptation to sin. He wants to ruin our spirits, and prevent us from passing our love for Christ down to our children.
But our Creator wants to protect our spirits because His love for us is so deep, and He knows that we are living in a broken and hurting world. So he gave us spiritual armor to protect us when things are hard.
The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:13 (ESV) says to “Take up the full armor of God, that you will be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Verse 16 says “In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”
I love the imagery here, that whenever we are in the midst of spiritual warfare, our faith has the power not just to block, but to extinguish every. Single. weapon the enemy throws at us!
What are the “evil day” and “flaming darts” Paul was talking about? The evil day is when your circumstances get hard and the enemy uses them to cause you to question your faith. Your “evil day” could be devastating like the loss of a loved one, the loss of job and not knowing how you will pay your bills, or being physically or emotionally hurt by someone. The “flaming darts” are the thoughts that cause us to ask questions like “Is God real?” or “If He is real, why would He let this happen to me?”
Or, your “evil day” might be much smaller. It may be when you haven’t had much sleep, your kids get sick, your car runs out of gas, dinner is ruined, you fight with your spouse, or anything else that can add up to a bad day. These are events that slowly wear us down and make us more likely to give in to the temptation to sin. These are the “flaming darts” of the evil one.
Whatever your “evil day” looks like, it’s so important to have a strong faith to lean on, because it’s by your faith that your soul will rest in the arms of the Almighty God, even when everything seems to be falling apart around you. It’s by your faith that you can walk in righteousness even when the temptation to sin is all around you. And it’s by your faith you can be an example of the healing power of Christ to others who don’t know Him, when they see the way He works in your spirit!
If we are to “take up the shield of faith” just like the roman soldier took up his shield in battle, we need to make sure the shield is there for us when we need it most! So here are some practical things we need to be doing all the time in order to strengthen our faith for the days when we need it most.
1) Know what you believe, and why.
Yes, faith is powerful, but only if it is founded on truth! Don’t just let your faith be something you talk and learn about on Sunday mornings. And don’t rely on the advice or opinions of others, because anyone can be wrong. You need to commit yourself to studying the word of God so that when you or one of your kids has a question about God, you will know how to find the answer. If you haven’t studied much (of any) of the bible, don’t worry! I was there recently, and I still have much to learn. Everyone starts somewhere. I highly recommend Inductive Bible Study. You can start anywhere, work at your own pace, and one chapter at a time!
Are there any questions you have about Christianity? Or any bible stories you’d like to learn more about? Those would be great places to start. If you want some ideas for how to teach the Bible to your kids, check out my post: 3 Tools I Use to Teach My Kids to Study the Bible.
2. Memorize Scripture.
You need to have His words written on your heart so that you will have them with you when you face troubling circumstances and find yourself questioning God. Again, if it seems too big and you don’t know where to start, just start anywhere. Are there any verses that stand out to you when you read the Bible? Write those words down and put them in places where you and your family will see them throughout the day, like the refrigerator door, mirrors, inside the front door of your house, or use them as bookmarks. Be creative! This way, you will be reminded of them as you go about your day.
3. Put your faith into action.
Having faith is kind of like having muscles. They are what make our bodies move. But if we choose not to use them at all, they are useless. When we trust God and walk out our faith in Him through our daily lives, His work in our spirits serves as a reminder to us, our families, friends, and the whole world, in the midst of our circumstances, who our true king is!
If you read Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith”, You will see a long list of people who were moved to action by their faith. And of course it was by the power of God that these things were possible. But He invites us to partner with Him in sharing His love with the world. Isn’t that awesome?
Ask yourself how can you be a blessing to the people around you? Don’t let doubt creep in and tell you that you can’t, or let your circumstances be an excuse. You can always start somewhere. Use your faith to show the love of Christ to someone in this world who needs it!
4. Surround yourself with faithful people.
This one is so incredibly important, because many people walk away from their faith because of a lack of community. I’m sure we all have at least one or two close friends who we can lean on, but we need to remember to have people who share our faith in Christ so that when we are experiencing spiritual warfare, we don’t have to fight alone.
Are your close friends people who are committed to knowing the word of God? Do they seek to know the truth, and know His character? Are they people with integrity, who seek to live righteously and follow God’s commandments? Do you allow them to guide you and correct you, even when their words are hard to hear? And are they there to help you, no matter what? Even if you are the one who messed up, sinned, or hurt someone, even them? If you can say yes to these things, then you have a good community of Christians who can strengthen and re-affirm your faith when the going gets tough.
If you can’t say yes to any of those questions, then you might need to reach out and expand your Christian community. If it’s hard to find Christian friends who seek to know God well, walk righteously and are there for each other, maybe you can start by looking for others who need a Christian community too!
When you build a strong community of people around you, it will also teach your children to develop friendships with others who will help them be the best friends, neighbors, and followers of Jesus that they can be. Now, who doesn’t want that for their kids?
Do you find these things to be helpful in building up your faith? Do you think you need to personally work on any of them? Or, are there any other things you would add to this list? Please, let me know in the comments!
This post is part of a series I have been writing about how we can fit our families with the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17). If you would like to see the whole series, start here:
If you are interested in learning more about spiritual warfare, I highly recommend reading the book “Victory In Spiritual Warfare” By Tony Evans. (Affiliate link)