In this part of the series of the armor of God, we’ll discuss the Sword of the Spirit. What is it? How do you use it? And how does it help you to be victorious?
Take it in
Ephesians 6:17 tells us to: “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (ESV).
In the previous part, we have seen that the specific meaning of the word “take” in this sentence means more than just picking up. It also implies an earnest receiving. This verse tells us that same applies to the Sword of the Spirit, as it says in the sentence that we should take the helmet and the sword. That means that we should earnestly receive, take in, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It is the weapon against the enemy. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit’s weapon, as it says that It is His Sword!
Don’t go into battle unarmed…
The Word of God is extremely powerful. It is sharper than any double-edged sword as its Truth cleaves through sinful intentions and thoughts. This spiritual sword is what we use to fight our own sinful thoughts and desires, but it also enables us to discern truths from lies when presented to us.
So often Christians don’t use this weapon, which leaves them unarmed against the enemy. And unarmed soldiers are either captured or killed.
Unarmed Christians can be swayed by anything that sounds powerful, convincing, or comforting. They fail to recognize the words used by the Holy Spirit to explain that they are about to fall into a trap of the enemy. Because you can only distinguish between your own thoughts and those of the Holy Spirit when you know what He would say. And what He says is in the Word of God.
…but take Jesus with you!
That makes even more sense if you understand that Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh (John 1:14), and the Holy Spirit is His Spirit. So, to know Who Jesus really is, you need to take in the Word of God, with the help of His Spirit. And you need to know Who Jesus is, to really love Him, to have joy and peace in Him, and to know what His will is for your life.
Paul says it best: “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11, NIV)
Only the Holy Spirit can open your eyes to the true meaning behind the words in the Bible. He brings life to the Word of God, not because It wouldn’t be alive otherwise, but because He brings life in you. He opens your eyes to what was there all along. He opens a treasure chest of wisdom and beauty beyond your imagination.
How to use the Sword of the Spirit
It happened to me one day that an entrepreneur was interested in my skills (or in me, I’m not entirely sure). He offered me a lot of money to quit what I was doing (which was writing for God, Who was preparing me for ministry) and start working for him. He said things like: “Whatever they are paying you, I will pay you more.” I declined, but he came to me three times, each time with a better offer.
At that time, my husband and I were struggling to make ends meet, so this sounded like a golden opportunity. But I had my doubts. I discussed it with several people, including my pastor. And all of them said that I should give it a try. But I thought it smelled bad. I thought it was curious that only days before that offer came, I had this feeling of awakening in church in which I felt that my ministry was about to start and that I should give it my all. So, to me, it felt like a test. And which fool could think that he would be able to out pay the Lord anyway? So I knew: even though we were barely getting through the month, God had never let us down before, and He would not let us down now.
And as I went to my room to pray for guidance, to know how to respond to the guy this third time, the Holy Spirit showed me that this was indeed a test. And He reminded me of the three tests Jesus underwent right before His ministry started.
A better promise based on Truth
Look at how Jesus responded when He was extremely hungry and put to the first test:
“The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3-5, NIV). Even in this vulnerable moment, He refused to believe worldly solutions were the answer to His problem because He knew Scripture. He knew that the Bread of Life (the Word of God) would lead to eternal life for everyone believing in Him and that natural bread could only sustain His physical life in this world. The long-term gain was more important to Him than the short-term satisfaction of fulfilling fleshly desires.
I immediately understood why I had to say no to the mountains of gold that were promised to me, no matter what other people told me. And so I did.
A couple of months later I found out that the guy was actually untrustworthy, to say the least. So, thank God for His protection through the Sword of the Spirit!
The Word as a guiding Light
The light of the Word of God provides us with guidance and wisdom, but also with hope when the skies are overcast. Sometimes we carry the Helmet of Salvation but deliverance seems miles away. During the long wait, it is the Word of God that tells us that we should not give up, for God always keeps His promises. As is written: “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:81, NIV)
Victory is on its way, God has not forgotten you. He is working on you, building you up to be the strong lion(ess) you are supposed to be.
Click on any of the links below to read about another piece of armor. Or read them all to see how they work together.
Part 2: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 3: The Shoes of Readiness
Part 5: The Helmet of Salvation