In our meditations over the last few days, we have looked at the defensive armor God has given us. Today we begin to look at three offensive weapons the believer can use in warfare against our unseen evil enemy. In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul the apostle mentions two weapons, but there is another in Scripture that also causes chaos to the unseen realm of evil spirits. These three weapons are the Word of God, Prayer, and Praise/Worship. We will look today at the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
When Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, he was under house arrest and chained to a Roman soldier. As Paul observed the Roman soldier's armor, it might have inspired him to think of the armor God gives us for our spiritual battles. Here’s the part we’re focusing on today:
17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And 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 (Ephesians 6:17-18).
The sword attached to the soldier's belt served Paul as a metaphor for the Word of God. The kind of sword Paul writes about is the machaira, the short, double-edged sword, usually only eighteen inches long, razor-sharp, and very light. This type of weapon was most useful when confronting your enemy at close range in hand-to-hand combat. As believers, we sometimes find it necessary to "wrestle" in prayer (Colossians 4:12) with evil spiritual forces in the unseen realms (Ephesians 6:12). The sword was used to deflect a sword thrust by an adversary but was also used as an offensive weapon by the Roman soldier. The Lord Jesus used the Word of God as a defensive and offensive tool against the enemy. When the Holy Spirit led Christ to battle with Satan in the wilderness, in each of the three temptations, Jesus used the sword of the Word of God to defend Himself against Satan’s strategies (Matthew 4:1-11).
Do not make the mistake of underestimating the power of this weapon. First of all, it is not a weapon of your own making. It is not, for example, the "sword" of Keith Thomas (you may enter your own name here), but the sword of the Holy Spirit. Unlike a conventional weapon, this weapon is divine. It does not depend upon your knowledge or ability but in the power of the weapon itself. This power is directly connected to the authority of the King under whom we serve. By the Holy Spirit’s direction, God’s Word used in His name carries His authority, especially when applied to a specific situation in which you find yourself.
God can give you a word at a particular time right when you need it. For instance, in my early twenties, I pursued a life of selfish living by following my impulses and desires. Out of nowhere, it seemed, thoughts about eternity started to surface. (I later found out about a church praying for me after I spray painted an outside Bible in a viewable box on the street outside the church). I started to question all sorts of things, e.g., for what was I living? What was I to accomplish while on earth? I would try to deal with these thoughts by brushing them aside as they were troubling to me. I tried my best to ignore them, but the thoughts kept resurfacing to my mind with no answers that satisfied.
Then one day, I discovered a book which spoke about prophecies of the last days, something in which I was highly interested. God used my curiosity to open my heart to the reality of the world in which we live. In the book, the writer described the return of Christ and the judgment and separation of believers from unbelievers. I thought that, because I was born in a “Christian country,” I was a Christian, but the writer used one Scripture that hooked me deep in my soul. It was, “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not, scatters” (Matthew 12:30). The writer explained that there is no middle fence for us to sit. You are in God's Kingdom, or you are outside of it. All of a sudden, I saw that, when Jesus would come, I would not be in God’s kingdom, for I had to be honest and say that I did not know Christ. I was like a fish caught on a hook of Scripture. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get off of that hook! God used that Scripture in my life to move me to seek the truth, and the Lord did not let me have peace until I finally gave my life to Christ. The truth of God’s Word through that Scripture woke me up and caused me to search for the Truth. It changed the course of my life. The Sword of the Spirit pierced me to the heart. I am so thankful that someone cared enough to pierce me through with that sword. Keith Thomas
This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study: Offensive Weapons of the Believer