Thankfully, as it is, Earth’s magnetic field acts as a giant shield from which most of the charged solar particles are deflected. Some, however, do stream down into the funnel-like weak fields at the magnetic poles, and those particles then collide with atmospheric gas molecules causing the surreally beautiful auroras we know as the “northern lights” and “southern lights.” Next time you see a photo of those auroral lights, or see the lights in the sky, be thankful for the invisible shield we have!
They streak through the sky at rocket-propelled speeds, and if it were not for the invisible overarching coverage of the anti-missile system known as the “Iron Dome” employed in Israel since 2011, the rockets fired by Hamas would strike many cities and other occupied areas, randomly killing thousands over time. It is a two-stage process. Carefully monitored radar batteries detect the incoming missiles and then protective counter-missiles are launched to intercept them. When Israelis see the effects of their Iron Dome system in action, they are thankful for the shield they have to protect them from the fiery missiles of their enemies.
They can flash into our minds at the speed of thought itself – wrong attitudes and specific thoughts of anger, or perhaps lust or greed. The apostle Paul tells us that we need a shield against these incoming threats as well: “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 3:16). The shield of faith is the Iron Dome and the magnetic field of Christian life. Like them, it is an invisible shield, but one without which we would be severely spiritually injured. Unlike the earth’s magnetic field, however, our spiritual shield doesn’t just sit there protecting us effortlessly. In that sense it is like the Iron Dome system that relies on careful radar monitoring of incoming missiles and then their destruction. For us it is the exercise of our faith that is our protection. This involves the same kind of continuous alertness to warnings and then action. We do this through regular study to be able to identify the real nature and threat of “incoming fire” on our spiritual “radar screens,”and then the application, in faith, of God’s help to route the attitudes and thoughts that are contrary to God’s way: “… taking every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5B).
“Incoming!” is one of the most urgent warnings in military life. Our mind’s warning of wrongful incoming influences should be a signal to us, too, that defensive action is necessary. It needn’t be stressful, however. The more diligent we are in utilizing the shield of faith, the more it becomes learned behavior; and we can concentrate on enjoying life and accomplishing what we need to do. That is after all the purpose of the magnetic field, of the Iron Dome, and of the shield of faith.