What Does Your Shield Say?



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 18:7–11

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.


Some years back during a tumultuous time in my family’s life, I began to repeat a short creed over and over. I tried to teach it to my children. I emblazoned it on a small wooden shield I cut out of a piece of thick plywood. After all, the Bible teaches us that faith is a shield. Sometimes we need to get beyond the metaphor and into the literal reality. Okay, all the time we need to do that. The words of the creed on the shield?


I remember one of my children making this remark, “But Dad, it says this on all our money.” I thought to myself, She’s right. But maybe that’s what’s wrong. A nation with a Christian self-understanding would put such an inscription on its currency, but for a nation that does not understand itself as Christian, such an inscription is utterly meaningless. It raises some questions: Who is God? Who are we? And what does it mean to “trust”?

In some measure, maybe we are where we are today in the USA because we assumed that putting such inscriptions on our money and pledging allegiance to flags of a nation “under God” and praying at Friday night football games would somehow get it done. It didn’t.

We live in Corinth. It’s time we realized that trust in God must become insanely personal before it ever has a fighting chance of becoming anything resembling corporate again.

WHO IS GOD? WHO ARE WE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “TRUST”? This comprises the curriculum behind this little creed.

What does this have to do with today’s text? Thanks for asking.

In a post-Christian nation, where the odds of making even a dent in the cultural fabric are overwhelmingly against us, we need to hear the word of the Lord to Paul.

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you and no one is going to attack or harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Living in a post-Christian nation has a massive and little-recognized upside. It is also a pre-Christian nation.

The big lament: the United States of America is a post-Christian nation. The even bigger opportunity: the United States of America is, once again, a pre-Christian nation.

In the end, it’s not even about a Christian nation, as though a nation could somehow be Christian. Jesus seems to be a lot more interested in building a church and growing a kingdom in the midst of nations.

WE TRUST GOD! I think I’m going to dig that little shield of a sign back out and put it next to the front door so we can tap it as we leave the house every day—in the same way a Notre Dame football player touches the sign: “Play like a Champion Today” as they leave the locker room and enter the playing field on game day. I had some little signs made years back that say, “Sow like a Champion Today!” I had a vision of every church in Sower Nation having one of these next to the door on the way out of the church and everyone tapping it as they headed out the door onto the playing field. It’s starting to happen. I’ll share some photos soon. 


Father, show us the meaning of the shield of faith. We need the metaphor to be more than a metaphor. Bring it into a reality for us. We trust you. I trust you. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Does this reflection discourage or encourage you concerning the present and future of your own country or culture? Why? Tell me about your shield of faith. 


Today we will sing “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,” (hymn 7) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. What does it mean to trust God and to utilize His shield of faith?

    To trust in God means to stop relying on your own ability and effort, and to begin to depend on His presence, His leading, and His action in your day-to-day life. It means to listen to and obey the ongoing promptings of the Holy Spirit within you. It means to rely on Christ living in you to be your hope and to continually produce the fruit of His Spirit in and through your life. It means to not be afraid to speak the truth in love–to not be silent about the glory and reality of risen Jesus no matter the consequences. It means to lay down your defenses, to be courageously vulnerable, and to humbly open your heart to the people God puts in your path.

  2. Is the glass half full, or is it half empty? The REALITY that we Americans really are living in a post-Christian nation can bring about either of two radically different responses. We can, like many on social media are advocating, to try to revive a now deceased and decomposing Christendom, or we can TRUST that God in His sovereign grace is providing a “clean slate” in order to reclaim a much more Biblical form of ORGANIC Church. It’s no longer possible to ignore, that not only is America now a post-Christian nation, but also is becoming post-denominational as well. The only groups that are on the increase are the so-called nondenominational ones, and that opens up a whole other can of worms. I’m praying that the next Great Awakening will bring about a change where Church here resembles clusters of extended family members rather than a shopping mall full of competing consumer outlets. I’m convinced that God is not pleased with the fact that Christ’s Church here in America looks more like a group of religious business organizations than an a large household of faith. Having restored both vehicles and houses, I know that restoration always requires a certain amount of de-construction to occur before new construction can begin. My shield of faith is that Jesus will do whatever it takes to rebuild His Church to His specifications.

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