Wielding the Sword of the Spirit

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No matter what war a soldier is involved in, he or she never knows how to react until the battle has begun. There are a lot of tactics to learn. You can prepare and study war all you want. But until you are on the battlefield and the bullets start flying, you never know if you will jump into fight or flight mode.

Throughout American history, soldiers that flee the battlefield in retreat are called deserters. There are stiff penalties if not outright death for any soldier that desserts the battlefield. It’s dangerous to turn your back on the enemy.

The Roman soldier had a breastplate that covered his front. It protected his vital organs. But most breastplates did not cover the back. It wasn’t like the middle ages and the full-bodied suit of armor that many of the knights wore. If a soldier turned to desert the battlefield, there was no defense for his back.

This may have been a design to keep the soldier fighting on the battlefield. It was safer to take the blows on the front of your body than to turn away and run. In the same way as we talk about the armor of God and spiritual warfare, when we turn our backs on the enemy, he has the upper hand.

We’ve been talking about prayer models for a while now. Most of the parts of the armor of God are defensive. They protect us from the attacks of the enemy. But there are a couple of weapons in this armor that are offensive, meant for advancing in the spiritual battle. Today, I’m going to focus on the sword of the Spirit.

After mentioning the helmet of salvation, Paul follows it with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Aside from the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace, this may be the only other offensive weapon in the armor.

God’s Word, the Bible, is a very powerful weapon. We usually underestimate its power and find ourselves unprepared to wield it against the enemy. Like any other weapon, God’s Word can be very dangerous without preparation.

You can’t just take a verse out of the Bible and hurl it at the enemy, hoping that it hits its mark. The Bible requires great desire to study it and be prepared to use it properly. It’s not that God’s Word is ineffective if we just use a verse. It’s an effective when we don’t use the verse in context and apply it to the right situation.

The Bible is not a magic wand. It is a precision weapon in the hands of a master student. Soldiers do not just pick up swords and start whipping them around in the air with proficiency. They don’t pick up guns and just pull the trigger.

Weapons require a great deal of study and preparation. To make best use of a sword, the soldier must learn all types of different moons with the sword before he or she can willed it with expertise. The less preparation for such powerful weapons, the more ineffective and inefficient they will be on the battlefield.

This is why we study God’s Word in depth. We want to know the context of the verses we use against the devil so that they hit their mark and cut to the heart. The Romans used a double-edged sword that was about 18 inches long. It was called a rapier.

Why does that matter? When we think of swords, many of us think of the longsword used in Europe especially in the Middle Ages. But the Romans used this smaller sword because it was more agile.

A sword like the longsword can be slashed around and cause some damage when it glances its blows. But the rapier was designed for precision thrusts and moves. Because it was double-sided where most enemies’ swords or single-sided blades, when it made contact, it cut hard. Either way you wielded it, it would cause lethal damage. The Romans used it to thrust into the gut, kidneys, heart, and chest areas.

It was very sharp because it was a skinnier sword. With double-sided blades, it cut no matter which way you thrust it. It was a very powerful weapon and in the skilled hands of a soldier, it was deadly most of the time. It’s one of the reasons the Romans became such a lethal fighting force in their time.

Why do I talk about the sword in such ways? Because it’s the sword Paul was looking at when he wrote Ephesians 6 and talked about the armor of God. The sword of the Spirit is God’s Word used properly for the right situation in the right season.

Hebrews 4:12 calls the Word of God a “double-edged sword.” It cuts in such precision that it divides things that are barely indistinguishable. Before we pray and ask God to help us use the Bible correctly, we must study it and know it. We must prepare to wield the sword for the greatest success and efficiency on the battlefield.

As we study God’s Word and learn how to use it the way Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11 when the devil came to attack him and tempt him, then we can pray and ask God to prepare us to wield his sword.

So how do we pray and ask God to use it? David pray things like, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). One of the best ways to prepare yourself to use God’s Word on the spiritual battlefield is to memorize it.

We must be so Familiar with God’s Word that we know exactly which verses to use in the proper situations. When Jesus did this in his second temptation where the devil used Scripture against him, the devil couldn’t refute the way Jesus used Scripture in response (Matthew 4:5-7).

There will be times that the devil will tempt you, lie to you, deceive you, and try to catch you offguard. When we begin our day asking God to reveal himself and his Word to us, to ask the Spirit to teach us from his Word, we could not be more prepared.

I ask God to help me apply his Word to every situation. I ask him to give me insight and wisdom that comes directly from the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate, reveal, and explain the Bible as you read and study it.

Saturate yourself every day with God’s Word. Don’t read a verse or two in the morning for devotions and let that be the end of it. Study God’s word every day and every week. Listen to sermons, studies, and readings of God’s Word.

Only when we have studied and prepared and prayed up can we fight Satan on the spiritual battlefield wielding the sword of the Spirit. It is a precision weapon that is the most powerful offense we can provide. Hthe left

ow do you use the Bible in combat with spiritual forces? Leave a comment and give insight on how you fight your spiritual battles.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Brian M. Cessna

    Great teaching. Thank you.

    1. Jonathan Srock

      Thanks, Brian! Many blessings to you!

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