Monday, February 22, 2016

Have you laid down your sword of the Spirit?

Jesus promised us trials in this world, but He followed that promise with a reminder, He has overcome the world. (John 16:32-33). There are many reasons we undergo trials. Sometimes it's to count it all joy that we are participating in the trials Jesus underwent. Sometimes it's because the testing we receive through a trial helps us discern the will of God. (Romans 12:2). Trials produce endurance (James 1:2-4). Testing and trials prove our faith. (1 Peter 1:6-7).

We live on a battlefield, and it isn't even our home turf we are fighting for. Our home is in heaven, we are strangers and aliens here. Satan wants to subdue us, break us, entice us into a snare and immobilize us. We are warned to remain vigilant (1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 26:41). So we fight, relentlessly, constantly.

1 Corinthians 16:13 says, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

The Lord didn't leave us defenseless. He gave us armor. We are outfitted from head to toe, and we hold a mighty sword.

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:18)

The sword is specifically the word of God. It is the only offensive weapon in the Christian's armor. The helmet, breastplate, shield, belt, and shoes are defensive.

The sword mentioned in the verse is not a broadsword. It is a sharp dagger, which all soldiers had at hand.

Sword: CC0 Public Domain Free use No
attribution required. Grass, EPrata photo
What happens though is that a Christian may be vigilant for a while, and then he lays down his sword (which is the scripture). He is sitting at the campfire, mending his shoes or polishing his breastplate. The vigilant soldier keeps the sword handy for taking up when the battle heats up again. But some lay it down in the grass, and wander a bit away, looking for daisies to pick, or to follow a butterfly. They wander farther and farther, and then suddenly the battle heats up and they are caught without their only offensive weapon! They go back to try and find it but weeds have sprung up and hidden the sword.

Matthew Henry says,
Those who would prove themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. (Matthew Henry)
Don't let too many days go by without reading the Word. When Jesus was tempted by the Devil, He countered with the word. And the fact that the Ephesians verse distinguishes between the two types of swords, the broadsword v. the dagger and specifically used the word for dagger in this case, means that the the Christian is to wield it with precision. Jesus knew exactly which scriptures to use in reply to the devil. A Christian who knows some scripture but not many isn't going to be an effective soldier nor a good witness.
There is no armor specified for the back, but only for the front of the body; implying that we must never turn our back to the foe (Lu 9:62); our only safety is in resisting ceaselessly (Mt 4:11; Jas 4:7). Jamieson Fausset Brown)
Is your Bible in the weeds, metaphorically? Or is it by your side, in your heart, on your mind? Be a good soldier, and have your offensive weapon ready when trials come. They will come. Jesus promised it. And He always keeps His promises.


2 comments :

  1. Thank you for the reminder to use our sword, Elizabeth.
    A few thougts before getting ready to go to work.
    A sword is indeed an offensive weapon, but I believe our use of the sword of the Spirit is defensive. We should resist until the devil flees, we don't have to chase him.

    Jacco Pippel.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome for the thoughts, Jacco.

      The sword is a defensive AND offensive weapon. It's used to defensively parry blows, but also topierce hearts.

      I was using 'offensive' in comparison to the shield, helmet, belt, shoes which are completely defensive.

      You're right we don't chase satan, but when he arrives the sword is used offensively to resist him. Jesus in the Temptation is the model here.

      It's also used offensively against the enemies of God, the lost, to pierce hearts and convict. It is an offensive weapon used when witnessing.

      Here is Charles Spurgeon, for more on the Armor of God

      It is noteworthy that there is only one weapon of offense provided, although there are several pieces of armor. The Roman soldier usually carried a spear as well as a sword. We have seen frequent representations of the legionary standing upon guard as sentry, and he almost always stands with a spear in his right hand, while his sword hangs at his side. But Paul, for excellent reasons, concentrates our offensive weapon in one, because it answers for all. We are to use the sword, and that only. Therefore, if you are going to this fight, see well to your only weapon. If you are to have no other, take care that you have this always in your hand. Let the Captain's voice ring in your ear, "Take the sword! Take the sword!", and so go forth to the field.

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