Reinhardt Bonnke, an evangelist with Christ for All Nations, wrote about faith in these stirring words.
When Spartan mothers sent their sons to battle, their parting cry was, “Come back with your shield or on it.” In other words, “Come back victorious or die honourably.”
The Spartan king, Demaratos was once asked why it was shameful to return without a shield but acceptable to return without a helmet.
“Because the latter they put on for their own protection” he replied, “but the shield is for the common good of all.”
In ancient hand-to-hand combat, the shield allowed a soldier to protect, not only himself, but also the person standing next to him, making him a useful part of a unit that was greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s interesting in light of this that Paul likens faith to a shield and salvation to a helmet.
Our salvation is a personal matter, but our faith affects those standing next to us in a profound way.
It is more honourable to die in battle than to drop one’s shield in retreat.
In the Church, we protect one another by our mutual faith, which is not only for personal benefit, but for the benefit of the whole body.
So come back with your shield or on it!