Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
When in a battle, Roman soldiers used their huge shields not only to cover their own bodies, but at times they would gather in a huddle creating a protective covering much like a turtle shell. By moving close together, the huge fire-laden arrows of the enemy could not penetrate and very often, were extinguished.
When we are afraid or hurt…we tend to isolate. We may still spend time with others but at the very least, we tend to hide our struggles.
Because it is so important to receive mature faith-infused encouragement, this is often one of the most damaging thing we can do. The enemy knows our tendancy…so he sends is fiery lies our way. Not just one…but he pelts us again and again in order to keep us distracted, fearful…backing away from others…from our purpose…from victory.
Not only must we remember his strategy toward us personally…it is important to remember that he has custom made arrows for our friends and loved ones. He is always ready and waiting to send his rapid fire damage our way! If he can distract us, we become incapable of moving forward. If we are distracted enough, we also tend to fight his attacks with the wrong weapons.
Distraction and confusion are important to his cause. He needs to keep us from discovering the effectiveness of our faith and gaining strength, momentum and experience. If we cannot be distracted, we will no longer be as prone to such fear and dread. We will not back off as easily and the enemy’s purposes are thwarted. We will gain the momentum to be in forward motion rather than helpless/hopeless retreat.
As our faith becomes stronger, it is important to help foster that kind of faith in those around us. Some of this will happen naturally as they watch our lives. But our words of encouragement over a cup of coffee…by text or phone are also badly needed. Do not doubt that. Do not be distracted from it. We need clusters of believers under their shields of faith…fighting an effective fight…changing lives by example as well as active encouragement.
This is what will keep the enemy from taking the ground that God has already given us…
This is what will bring victory for the generations to come!