Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit
Sept 13, 2010
Ephesians 6:17 "Take the . . . sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. "

In Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, he makes them (and us) aware of the spiritual battle around us, instructing us all to put on God's armor. The armor, having several critical pieces to it, helps us combat the devil. Specifically, we are to put on the armor to "stand against the devil's schemes." Satan's schemes are this: to separate you from God, both now and in eternity. He does this by using any desperate and crafty tactic possible, the chief of which are lies. Satan is described in the Bible as being the father of lies: deceiving for the purpose of causing harm to those who believe his lies. He is so talented, in his lies, that we can rarely distinguish between his lies and the truth. He is that good at it. No matter how discerning you are, it is often difficult to distinguish his lies from the truth.

Because Satan is THAT talented at deceiving us, we are to constantly be alert and, with the armor, to fight against Satan in his efforts. In putting on the armor, our only weapon we are instructed to fight with is a sword, the Sword of the Spirit. Back when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he was well aware of the armor used in battle; he had intimate knowledge of many Roman soldiers. Paul knew that soldiers, when going into battle, didn't take just one weapon. Yes, they took a sword along with them, but they also took daggers, bows and arrows, maybe a mace, axes, cleavers, etc. There were many weapons available to the soldiers during Paul's time, and they were usually proficient with several. Paul names several pieces to the armor of God available to us, but only one weapon. Armor is intended to protect the soldier, but a weapon is intended to inflict harm on the opposing party. Paul only gives us one weapon in our spiritual battle, and it is a very specific weapon, the Sword of the Spirit. Evidently, only one weapon was needed.

Paul even goes so far as to elaborate on what that weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, is. The Sword of the Spirit is the word of God. This 'word' is the past and present voice and promises of God. It is far bigger than simply the Scriptures as used in a historical context. The word of God is truth used to combat Satan's lies. God's word is active, meaning it is alive. Paul was aware of God's imminence in our lives and of His active communication with us, not only through the written Scriptures but also through His voice of truth spoken to our hearts. We are to arm ourselves with this; it is our only weapon. Consequently, it is the only weapon needed to defeat Satan's schemes. The way to defeat Satan in our lives is to speak the word of God; against this truth Satan has no lie.

It is interesting, though, that after Paul instructs us to arm ourselves with the word of God, we are to told to take one specific action. Right after we have put on the full armor of God, and we take up our one and only weapon, we are immediately told to pray. "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." We aren't told to run against Satan in battle, looking for a fight; we are told to "stand and pray." Why would Paul tell us to arm ourselves for battle but declare that the only action we are to take is to pray? This doesn't make sense. Well, it doesn't make sense unless we take our weapon with us in prayer. We are to take the word of God and use it as our chief tool in prayer, prayer for ourselves and intercessory prayer for others (who need help in fighting Satan, as well). Our prayer should be based on the word of God, in accordance with His truths and promises.

It is critical, then, if you are to arm yourself with God's word, that you actually know what God's word is. How familiar are you with the Bible, I mean really familiar with the word? Can you quote it? Can you explain its meaning to others? Do you hear from God on a daily basis? If you can't say "Yes" with enthusiasm on all counts, then you won't do very well in battle against Satan, against the very talented liar.

1. What specific Scriptures do you use in your prayer life?
2. How often do you intercede, with God's promises, for others?
3. Try praying these specific truths every day, for yourself and others: Numbers 6:22-26, Ps 139:14, Is 54:17, Rom 8:28, Phil 4:13.
4. What other verses should you be praying every day?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 2 Chron 7:14, Matt 4:4, John 8:44, Rom 8:27, Eph 6:10-18

No comments: