Taking Up the Sword of the Spirit in Spiritual Warfare

If the Israelites never put their swords down to always defend themselves while building the wall, is there teaching about never putting the sword of the Spirit down? We are taught to put it on regularly but does it ever get taken off?

This was the next question after talking about the Israelites defending the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah tells us that they were always armed and ready to fight because they never knew where the attacks would come from.

Now if we fast-forward to the New Testament, to Ephesians where Paul introduces the armor of God, he presents the Roman sword as the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. There is teaching on regularly putting on the armor of God, usually in the morning during prayer.

In one sense we never take off any of the parts of the armor for we are always prepared for battle with the enemy. He is always ready to attack us so we must be ready to defend ourselves. There are some Christians who are on the front lines constantly.

I think of pastors, missionaries, prayer warriors, and the like. This is not to say that every Christian is not in a spiritual battle of some kind. We must all be prepared to fight the enemy whenever he rears his ugly head.

We must regularly put God’s armor on in preparation for battle. Most pastors and teachers tell us to put the armor on every day. One of the ways I do this is through my morning prayers and devotions. I have a blog section about putting on the armor of God through prayer models.

The only way to talk about always having the armor of God on without taking it off is to look at the verbs for putting on the armor. We are looking for the Greek verbs in the present active that would present a continuous action. Here are the verbs of the passage:

  1. In Ephesians 6:11, the verb “put on” is in the aorist middle.
  2. In Ephesians 6:13, the verb “take up” is also in the aorist middle.
  3. In Ephesians 6:14, the verb “Stand firm” is in the aorist active.
  4. In Ephesians 6:14, the participle “having fastened” is in the aorist middle.
  5. In Ephesians 6:14, 15, the participle “having put on” is in the aorist middle.
  6. In Ephesians 6:16, the verb “take up” is in the aorist active.
  7. In Ephesians 6:17, the verb “take” is in the aorist middle.
  8. In Ephesians 6:18, the participle “praying” is in the present middle.
  9. In Ephesians 6:18, the participle “keep alert” is in the present active.

What does all this analysis mean? The only present active is to keep alert. Almost all of the verbs are aorist. This is an action that usually happens in the past. In this passage I would say that it is simply saying that the armor is put on.

Paul’s emphasis, then, as far as continuous action is to keep alert. Putting on the armor is part of that process. For us to keep alert on a regular basis, continuously prepared for battle, the armor must be on. S

o putting on the armor is preparation for being alert and ready to fight the enemy whenever he takes the field of battle. We must always be ready and alert for spiritual warfare. But for us to be effectively alert, the armor must already be on. Always put on the armor on a regular basis so that you can continually be alert for battle to begin.

Image by Thomas Anderson from Pixabay

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