Opinions on faith and life

The Sword of the Spirit

2006-03-01

Ephesians 6 6:10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 6:11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 6:13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 6:14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 6:15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 6:16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 6:18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.
We’re often warned not to “go out to battle” without our armor on, but how many of us are properly trained to use the one offensive weapon we have? I dare say that if most Samurai had been trained in the handling of a sword the way Christians are trained to handle the Word, they’d have sliced themselves to ribbons, or dropped it and ran at the first sign of opposition. So how do we train to use the Sword of the Spirit?

First of all, remember that it’s the sword of the Spirit-- not of you. The Spirit uses as much of the Word as we’ve “ingested”, so we need to at least keep reading and studying it. King David said “ I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11). Here are more references:

13 Deuteronomy 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

21 Deuteronomy 32:47 They are not just idle words for you— they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.“

Psalm 119:89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

James 1:22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

This is no mere collection of fables or moral lessons, it is a deadly weapon in the hands of a properly trained spiritual warrior. Samurai swords were forged by an amazing number of repeated hammerings, making the metal so dense it could cut through almost anything. But if God starts ”hammering“ on us in order to make us fit for his service, we cry and moan and wonder why he’s abandoned us. We see the laughter of the world as they observe this process and refuse to let God work on us. ”Where’s your God now?" they mock, being clueless about what God is really doing.

But there is no excuse for us to be so clueless. We have the whole Bible, and we have the examples of many martyrs who feared no one but God:

Revelation 12:11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.