The shield of faith is used by the soldier to quench “all the fiery darts…” The passage implies there are a lot of them. I remember how the Navy would lay off the coast of Vietnam and send in fighters from the Aircraft carriers to soften up the enemy before the ground troops would advance. The big Battle Ships of World War II were brought into action and were used to shell the enemy from many miles at sea before the advancing troops would engage the enemy. This is the picture of the enemy used the many fiery darts shot at us from a distance. Martin Lloyd Jones says, “Soldiers used to throw these darts at the enemy in great profusion from all conceivable directions so as to cause confusion. And having prepared the way in that manner the troops would then advance. This was the ancient way of doing what in modern warfare is known as the preliminary barrage of the guns to prepare for the advance of the infantry.”

Long distant spiritual warfare is a battle of words. While on the Cross, Jesus’ enemies, clearly under the direction of Satan, “hurled” their insults at him. The word hurled is used of arrows and/or spears. Words are the weapons. Thoughts are the substance of words and that’s why our spiritual battle is a battle for the mind. Satan, you will remember “blinds the minds” not the eyes of unbelievers. An unbeliever is by very definition a person without faith. We may find ourselves under a barrage of Satan’s fiery darts. They are designed to cause us to doubt, despair, and ultimately to desert our faith in God. We must yield the shield with skill to extinguish all his fiery darts. When those darts find their way into our thought life, they have a way of building what the Bible refers to as strongholds. Satan establishes patterns of thinking in our lives that eat away, like a cancer, at our trust, confidence in God.

A Christian Doctor, Dr. Michael Jacobson, talks about these strongholds. He quotes Ed Silvoso, an Argentine Christian evangelist. He defines a stronghold as “a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes me to accept as unchangeable something that is contrary to the will of God.” A mindset is a pattern of thinking. And so, if I have a pattern of thinking which is inconsistent with God’s revealed truth, it is a stronghold. And, as we saw earlier, the Christian has weapons of warfare which are stronger than these strongholds, and are capable of bringing these wrong patterns of thinking into obedience to Jesus Christ.” Therefore, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”