Every day we are attacked by Satan’s flaming darts. It might be suddenly feeling bitter over someone’s gossip, or fearful about our finances, or jealous of your friend’s promotion.
The good news is that God has given us a weapon that can extinguish all of them:
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)
So no matter how many flaming darts Satan fires against us, the shield of faith can extinguish them all. But that doesn’t happen automatically. Shields need to be picked up, and used. So how do we do that? Here are steps I have found helpful.
First, identify the flaming dart.
Maybe someone gossiped about you, or didn’t invite you to the party, or hurt you in some other way. And you feel bitterness rising in your heart.
That bitterness is a flaming dart fired by Satan to destroy you. The same is true with lust, greed and impatience. So first, identify the dart.
Second, trust that this dart can be quenched.
When the flaming dart lands, and you feel your heart filling with bitterness, you can feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s why it’s crucial to see that this flaming dart can be quenched.
Look again at Ephesians 6:16:
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
You can extinguish this flaming dart, but how?
Third, understand that it can only be quenched by the shield of faith.
This flaming dart of bitterness cannot be quenched by:
• trying to stop feeling bitter,
• looking on the bright side, or
• taking a deep breath and counting to 10.
None of those will quench the flaming dart, because none of those involve faith. The only way to quench Satan’s darts is with the shield of faith—faith in Christ.
So how do you pick up that shield and use it?
Fourth, turn to Jesus Christ.
The shield is a shield of faith, and faith means trusting all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus Christ. So, turn your heart to Jesus Christ.
You don’t need to get rid of your bitterness first. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, you can turn to him as you are, confessing your sin and asking him to forgive you for your bitterness. And he will.
Then ask him to help you use the shield of faith to extinguish this flaming dart of bitterness.
Fifth, find promises that counter the flaming dart.
Faith means trusting all that God promises to be for us in Christ. So it’s crucial to find promises in God’s word—specific, blood-bought promises—which counter the flaming dart.
So what promise would help with bitterness over what someone did to you, or said about you? I have found Genesis 50:20 helpful, because this is what Joseph said to his brothers after they had sold him into slavery:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Sixth, pray over those promises until you feel God strengthening your faith and changing your heart.
Here’s how I might pray over Genesis 50:20:
Father, help me understand this promise. This verse says that whatever this person did to me, you meant for good. But all I’m feeling now is the bad that has come from what they did. So help me trust that you are using this to bring me the greatest good of your nearness, love and glory, as you promised in 2 Corinthians 4:17–18. Please, Father, give me that greatest good now. Satisfy me so fully in yourself that my bitterness is comforted and I am rejoicing in you.
This might take some time. But wait patiently on the Lord (perhaps praying Psalm 40:1–3 or Mark 2.1–12″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>Mark 2:1–12 or Revelation 5:1–14). You might also want to ask some brothers or sisters in Christ to pray with you and for you.
As you pray over God’s word, he will help you. He will strengthen your faith, help you see and feel the glory of Christ, and change your heart. You will move from feeling bitterness, hurt and anger to feeling contentment, satisfaction and joy in Christ.
And the flaming dart will be extinguished.