The warrior faces the enemy across the vast battlefield. He stands against Evil, believing he is strong and trained for the fight. The blade of his gladius catches the beams of the rising sun as he prepares to charge. Suddenly the warrior feels a searing pain in his side. Looking down, he realizes in horror—the enemy is using arrows…arrows of fire.
Ancient battle tactics dating back to 900 AD were the first reported use of arrows of fire as a favored weapon of warfare. It is very likely that fire arrows were used even before this. When the Apostle Paul wrote Ephesians back around 62 AD, he referred to flaming arrows in Ephesians 6:16.
“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 6:16, NIV)
What if this one verse was the absolute key to surviving the battlefield of life?
When police officers suit up, they put on their ballistic vests for protection. It’s not that we know who the enemy will be that day, but we want to be prepared for the unforeseen enemy. Just as a SWAT officer takes up a ballistic shield and a vest bearing steel plates, we want to prepare for whatever the enemy chooses to fire at us. It’s not overcautious or paranoid; it’s about survival.
If you want to survive the battle of the mind and soul, take up the shield of faith.
What are these “fiery arrows” or darts of the enemy? It sounds so…ancient warfare. How does it apply to real life? Here are a few arrows of fire that the enemy uses to target police officers and all first responders:
* “You are weak for being traumatized by all that you see.”
* “You are the only one who is weak.”
* “Keep it inside…others will make fun of you and talk about you behind your back if you ask for help.”
* “Drinking will make you feel better. That will make your pain go away.”
Call it what you want—a battle of the mind, spiritual warfare, or fighting your demons. These thoughts are heavy, invasive, relentless, and they plague our heroes. Heroes that serve and sacrifice to defend Good—and to fight Evil. Heroes that run toward the gunfire to protect the innocent. Heroes that deserve better.
* “Your family and friends won’t understand. They aren’t cops—they can’t relate.”
* “You have isolated yourself and ruined your family and your marriage. You are a failure.”
* “There is no recovering from your mistakes. Your career, your life is done.”
* “You are alone. No one cares.”
* “Just end it. There is no other way.”
I have lived life as a police officer walking the battlefield without a shield, and without armor. It wasn’t long before the arrows of fire overcame me, and I fell. I fell on the battlefield, and I lay there hopeless and dying in the dark for years. The enemy told me to end my life. By the grace of God a fellow officer came along and pulled me up out of the pit. I survived.
The war within continued to rage, and to face it, I needed to not only take up the shield of faith—but to put on the full armor of God. Now, as I walk the battlefield every day, I stand firm against the arrows from Hell that rain down upon me.
My brothers and sisters, reach out and take up your shield. Put on your armor, and stand firm. The arrows of fire will continue to rain down on the battlefield—but you will be protected against them.
We fight the battle to survive today. We must win the war to live tomorrow.
Read the powerful true story of how my life was changed forever in the award winning book, Break Every Chain: A Police Officer’s Battle with Alcoholism, Depression, and Devastating Loss, and the True Story of How God Changed His Life Forever. Available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Books-A-Million, Walmart, Ebay, and iTunes. Also available as an Audiobook. For more information, visit https://JonathanHickory.com.
Jonathan Hickory is a Master Police Officer in Charlottesville, Virginia. With over 15 years of police experience, Jonathan has mentored and instructed other officers in police driving methods and as a Field Training Officer. Jonathan spent seven years investigating the reconstruction of fatal vehicle crash sites and three years as a motorcycle officer. Jonathan proudly serves as a member of the Police Department’s Peer Support Team providing Critical Incident Stress Management support to fellow officers. He also leads a Life Safety team with The Point Church in Charlottesville and the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. Jonathan has been married to his wife Stacy for over 14 years and has two children.