Most of us are familiar with the armor of God described in Ephesians 6. Some of us may even put on this armor for spiritual protection as we begin our days. But, do we really use it? Are we aware that we are daily involved in spiritual warfare?
We are exhorted in Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Today, I want to highlight one specific piece of our spiritual armor. Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
I recently listened to an online message by Ron Zondervan. He challenged his listeners to build their own spiritual swords. We can gain some insight for how to build a spiritual sword by looking at how military swords were made in the past.
Military swords were crafted uniquely for each sword bearer. A different size, shape and weight for each weapon. Steel forged with an anvil and hammer. Grinding, hammering and heating changed a piece of metal into a weapon. Heat applied to the blade was critical. The craftsman started applying heat at a low temperature and then gradually increased it. Finally, the blade was sharpened with a whetstone. A coarse grit stone was first used. Gradually, finer grit stones were used to achieve the sharpest blade.
The steel for our spiritual swords comes from the Bible. However, we must open the Bible and learn His promises if scripture to be our effective weapon. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All verses have the potential of becoming material for a spiritual sword. However, each of us will craft a sword that is usable for our own battles. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive 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.”
The Holy Spirit is the fire applied to the sword we are constructing. In Acts 2:3-4, the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire at Pentecost. Today, the Holy Spirit is our Helper who gives us understanding of the scriptures we use to build our spiritual swords. The Holy Spirit knows just how much “fire” to apply for the best spiritual sword. We must be careful to heed I Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
Finally, our spiritual sword needs sharpening with a whetstone. Jesus is our stone.
I Peter 2:4 describes Jesus as the living stone who is precious in God’s sight. Verses 6-8 continue, “For it stands in Scripture: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.’ To you who believe, then, this stone is precious….” Ephesians 2:20 emphasizes, “Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.”
In summary, the sword that Jon Zondervan encourages us to build is a sword composed of scriptures found in God’s Word, refined by the Holy Spirit and sharpened by Jesus Christ. The result is a powerful spiritual sword!
II Corinthians 10:3-6 reminds us, “For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
The sword of God’s Word is a sword of truth we can pull out whenever needed. Jesus declares in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The truth reminds us who we are and the power of God that is working with us and for us. It reminds us that we are victorious. Truth reminds us that the devil is defeated.
As we take a closer look at Ephesians 6:14-17, we will notice that the sword of the Spirit is our only offensive weapon. It is all we need. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive 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 special two edged sword penetrates and implants God’s Word into our souls. It also pierces and cuts out what is not of the Lord.
So, how do we wield this spiritual sword? We skillfully handle our sword through praise, proclamation and prayer.
There is power in praise. It is good for us to fulfill Psalm 103:1. Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. According to Psalm 22:3, the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. Join me in declaring Psalm 71:14, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more.”
God’s Word is alive and needs to be proclaimed. Isaiah 45:21 says, “Declare what is to be, present it– there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me.” Matthew 10:27 tells us, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” The words we speak out loud are powerful. Our words change us and our circumstances.
I Thessalonians 5:17 simply says, “Pray continually.” Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” James 6:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Specific scriptures are effective prayers. Praying God’s Word back to Him is a powerful weapon against the forces of evil that surround and attack us.
In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus used the Word as His sword when fighting spiritual battles. Three times (verses 4, 7 and 10) satan tempted Jesus and each time Jesus fought back with a specific scripture. Jesus knew the scriptures well. His spiritual sword was sharp.
My Reader, have you built your spiritual sword? Philippians 2:10-11 says, “Be ready to speak to the enemy. Then be ready to skillfully handle your sword as you fight the enemy.” I encourage you to take time to study God’s Word. Scripture is “God-facts” – not just stories. God’s Word is a sword to pull out when you are tempted or discouraged. Find specific verses that will help you overcome such hindrances as fear, doubt, worry. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the appropriate verses. Then speak these words with the authority of the name of Jesus.