Fencing is a sport I only ever see when the Olympics is on. It’s fascinating to watch.
While I don’t know all the rules, it is a quick moving battle between two athletes who use swords (foil, épée, or saber) to attack and defend with the aim of striking their opponent in order to score points. They need good endurance, fast reactions, excellent flexibility and balance, explosive speed, and quick thinking. Each of these are developed during many hours of training.
This made me think of the sword of God. The picture language in Ephesians 6 is of us being in a battle, at war with the devil and his forces. While the outcome is known and secure, the ongoing battles can wound us. We are to be prepared and able to use all of the armor God has given us.
The last part of the armor mentioned is the sword of the Spirit. It is the only part of the armor of God which is able to be used for attack as well as defense. It tells us clearly that the sword is the Word of God, the Bible, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
A few weeks ago we looked at the first part of the armor of God: the belt of truth. A Roman soldier’s belt often held his sword, these two parts of the armor are connected, as the truth about God is held within His Word.
We should use this weapon wisely as it will help us to defend ourselves—resisting temptation, as well as advancing in evangelism.
When Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the desert, He used the sword of the Spirit, quoting the Bible to answer the devil. When the devil tried to misuse the Word of God, Jesus was able to answer Him using the sword of the Spirit correctly.
There is a warning in this for us. We need to practice and be able to use the sword of the Spirit well to defend ourselves.
When we are tempted to believe a lie, we can check it against the true Word of God. But we need to know it to be able to do that. We also have to be able to know when the Word of God is being misused. This takes time in the training room of our bedrooms, offices, cars, kitchen tables, wherever you spend your time meditating on and learning from the Word of God.
The Word of God is useful in reaching out to others. As it says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.”
Rather than being a sword in battle, this is more like a surgeon with a scalpel, accurately making precise cuts to remove the offending matter and bring healing. When we use the Word of God in evangelism it is always with the aim of drawing others into a relationship with God.
I know a lovely Christian lady who became a Christian by reading the Bible for herself. She was convicted and responded.
There are many people I know who became Christians having heard the Word of God being handled faithfully over years, days, or even just one time – and God used it to reconcile them to Himself, while other Christians were drawn to know more about the Savior through the lives of faithful believers, which lead them into hearing and reading God’s Word.
Can you imagine a fencing battle where one person doesn’t have a sword?
We need to read, learn, and train ourselves to use the sword of the Spirit.
Pray for your pastors and ministers that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide them as they prepare this week to teach you and your church family from the Word of God.
Pray for yourself that the Holy Spirit would speak to you and remind you of what you have learned so you can defend yourself and lovingly reach others with the truth about Jesus.
In John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the characters, when dying, says, “My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.”
Week 6 Challenge:
This week, focus on memorizing God’s Word and putting it not only in your mind, but also in your heart. Prayerfully choose verses that encourage you, bring you hope, or remind you of God’s promises and write them on notecards or in your prayer journal. Using Jesus’ example, fight back against our spiritual enemy with the truth found in Scripture by memorizing and recalling God’s Word.