The Dartboard Syndrome

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Ephesians 6:16 NASB
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Flaming arrows, fiery darts, all being extinguished. Do you sometimes feel like you are a dartboard and those darts or flaming arrows just never seem to stop coming?

God’s Word tells us that, that which we see in not always as it appears. Ephesians 6:12 NASB tells us that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Do I have a broad understanding of what this means? Yes I do. If I was to paraphrase what I understand from this Scripture, it tells me that the interactions that I see here on earth between humans is not solely sourced just from within humanity. It tells me that there are bigger forces in play and these bigger forces originate from sources that are spiritual in nature and they are forces of wickedness.  Or in other words, these worldly forces that I can see, that are identified as “darkness”, means they are devoid of God’s light, they do not represent God’s will nor do they originate from Him. And further, that these rulers, powers and forces of darkness that I can see, originate from opposing forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Do I have a definitive or comprehensive understanding of what that spiritual conflict entails? No I do not. I know the basics, but beyond that it gets a little hazy. And to be quite frank with you, I personally don’t believe we will ever thoroughly understand what is eluded to in God’s Word, until we are face to face with God. I do know that I have seen evil that is difficult to articulate and unless God specifically tells me that He wants me to enter into that particular area, I am going to respect that evil that I do see and avoid it at all costs. And when I say “respect” I do not mean respect in the normal good connotation, as one would respect something that is basically good, but I mean “respect” as in something not to be trifled with.

In my walk with God I follow the KISS approach. KISS is an acronym for the “Keep It Simple Stupid” approach, a term that was used when I served in the military. The rationale for this acronym is to focus on that which is of primary importance and not of a secondary or subsequent importance. An example is that I may be hungry but right now I have a hole in the canoe that I am in, and the primary importance is to plug that hole, not address my hunger needs.

Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). From my perspective, that’s pretty inclusive. Jesus has a far greater understanding of spiritual realities than I do. The bottom line is that I study God’s Word and try to broaden my understanding on all things that He would have me gain an understanding on and this is an on going process. In short, I’m pretty sure we are always learning.

But there is one thing that is of primary importance and that is ensuring that I continually ask Jesus to direct my steps, whether I turn to the right or the left or proceed straight ahead or even go backwards. That guidance is absolutely critical. Either He guides where I go or I start doing it myself and the latter is not the recommended method. I’ve got the T shirt.

It is so easy to become focused on the end or last times (Christian eschatology) and endeavouring to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. And although that is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, it can lead one astray from our primary objective, where the focus we are pursing becomes secondary to the person we are yoked to. Jesus said for us to take His yoke upon us and to learn from Him (Matthew 11:29). A typical yoke has places for two. And it’s pretty easy to see that Jesus is filling one of them and we fill the other. He leads, we follow.

I see an awful lot of warnings being propagated about the end times in various multimedia online apps these days. There is nothing wrong in gaining an understanding about the end times but using fear as a motivation to change people’s hearts, falls short of learning from Jesus. Jesus spoke to His disciples about the end times after they believed in Him.

Just something to be aware of and think about.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings! 

24 comments

  1. No, darts do not come all the time. Those two scriptures using an Old Testament verse about Jesus, do not reflect the proper use for darts. They are an allegory and are generally misused by christians.

    8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

    9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thess 5)

    So I must then ask, is it a breastplate of righteousness or a Breastplate of faith and love. and why is the shield of faith missing in 1 Thess 5.
    The reason I bring it up is that people characterize the point of Pauls references. He is not talking about the wicked one. He is talking about rounding out your christian person.
    So we are called to have it together. to read our bible, to pray to be holy, to be entwined with God, in love and to have love for others.
    His reference to faith is simply to say, without actually trusting in God, you don’t have anything. forget the devil bit. If you do not believe God is trustworthy, If you are in contempt, you don’t have anything, no protection, nothing.

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    • You’re right Scott, they don’t come all the time but there are times when it seems that they are non-stop, that is what I was referring to and I am pretty sure that no one can say that they never come. In Eph 6:16 the shield of faith is definitely mentioned and without faith in God it is impossible to please God as we know. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bruce, thank you for a fantastic post. I agree, it’s imperative to lean on Jesus for guidance and I love the example you give about the yoke having places for two. 🙏 🙌

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  3. Bruce, I wish people would list what flaming darts they are talking about. I sort of feel left out. Not sure what they are calling flaming darts from all over the place. I imagine a cartoon with a a guy with arrows sticking out of them.
    Maybe there is a misunderstanding. Monday the Owner of the house I am working at blasted me because the Air Conditioning guy did not come yet, Not my fault, but I took offence at the owners poor character, still, my hurt feelings and the big mouth of the owner to me wasn’t anything to do with the devil or a dart. I wonder what people are considering a dart from the evil one. the IRS or a flat tire? Does the devil sneak around at night an put nails on the road? Are people suggesting their bad luck or poor planning or peoples poor conduct is the devils darts?

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    • No Scott, I think the flaming darts are more in line with temptations we are often times subjected to concerning honesty, faith, envy, pride, trust in the Lord, gossip, sexual lust, patience, being just with others, acceptance of others, forgiveness etc. The fact that I stubbed my toe on the coffee table would not be attributed to Satan, probably more in line with me not watching where I was putting my toes. Of course, there is always the possibility of anyone attributing any mishap to Satan but I personally think that is taking the flaming darts analogy too far.

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      • And what proof is there that lust for example is a flaming dart rather than just a human desire. I cannot see how a shield of faith, or better said, trust that God is God in every way has anything to do with Lust. Lust is something that will affect men of faith. Pride, gossip whatever.
        What I hope is people will not run over this scripture and make witchcraft out of it. Reading it slower and slower till it comes clear is better.

        let me skip to the end. Paul is talking about Opposition to the faith or Opposition to the negative arguments meant to challenge them and oppose their movement. Those darts are rhetorically darts of the devil not actual darts from the devil opposing the very gospel and the believe Jesus was the Messiah and that through him they could be saved.

        Their shield of faith, is the confidence in God, that his Gospel is the actual gospel.
        Nothing to do with these other things.

        19 Pray also for me,(AG) that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly(AH) make known the mystery(AI) of the gospel.

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      • Scott, Scott, I wasn’t inferring that Satan was behind ALL lust, just that he is capable of using any of our vulnerabilities towards his purposes if we do not follow God’s will in any specific area, and allow him to tempt us, should he try to do so. Obviously the vast majority of cases were lust is involved is where our own fallen hearts are the source (Galatians 5:19). And of course they are not actual darts, that is just a figure of speech being used. Do you remember in Luke 22:31 where Jesus tells Peter “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat.” Read this link when you get a chance: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-sifting-of-simon-peter
        You’re covering some heavy ground here. Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So, the point comes to, when people say the devil is throwing darts, which darts? does he actually float around organizing an attack or is this a metaphor. There is a reference in revelations that says, where Satan has his throne. I think that actually is in reference to a person the church sees as aggressively causing them harm. So, when looking at this scripture we are to prepare for arrows from the devil. arrows from outside forces, from leaders, from opposition. The warfare might be seen as a political vs. Church fight and Paul is saying, get personally prepared, fit so the weight of these things doesn’t break you or cause you to despair. And Paul knows that he even despaired for his very life. And He said to others, you haven’t resisted to the shedding of blood. your living a cake walk.
    I would suggest that this scripture barely applies to us because we are for the most part milquetoast and couch potatoes for the Lord. We remotely have the conflict and despair Paul and those then did and don’t oppose any gov’t or make any waves or face any real darts from evil let alone the devil because we do not live that on the edge life. Some in the middle east do, but we we don’t really.

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      • The worst I get is some Odd duck named David who threatens me on world Israel news that he will flag me for saying Jesus is Messiah. So far the Discus moderation hasn’t removed my free speech. That said, Some other sites have removed my account over the years for saying Evolution is a Hoax and proving it.
        Funny thing is 99.9% of the time after I present my case of the glut of fossils being the same as what is living today and not of intermediate developing species most realize they were misinformed and just give up. So it goes from a harassment to a vaporization of the troll behaviour. If this is the extent of modern day Persecution, that is, someone typed at me.. Oh. we are in good shape. But lets keep it that way and push back against Gov’t that wants to limit what we say, where we go and how we worship.

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      • He Bruce. Blessings on this Sunday Morning. This is what freedom looks like. We are so temperamental these days, from the black lives matter movement to fake news, there is this unsettled discontent because we have so much liberty and access to everything we lose perspective. If someone from 80 years ago saw this level of freedom they would be shocked. In seconds we can pull up any video of anything even watch the holocaust for that matter. We can google jobs around the world and travel anywhere. And with this liberty, we should make every effort to share the gospel. when the video games shut off, when the street lights go out, when a morning breeze sweeps the streets we can be reminded that in the quiet of it this opportunity is ours to take a hold of. And we should cherish what we have and make use of it while some around the globe do not have what we have. Still they are fighting for it. Part of the problem is, we have a ocean of freedom, but its hard to just swim out in to the ocean. There is safety in not stepping out. But we are those who step out, and amazingly the shore line follows us out. And we walk on dry ground.

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