The sword of the spirit
And the sword of the spirit which is the word of God - Ephesians 6:17
A sword is an unmistakable weapon of offence. No doubt that it can also be used as a tool for defence. This however is no ordinary sword. This sword is made of the Spirit and the Word. In spiritual warfare the battles are fought with words. Words packed and backed up with the Spirit of God.
What is the sword of the Spirit?
This question hardly needs answering. The answer is obvious. The sword of the spirit is the Word of God spoken with the power of the Holy Spirit.
First let us establish the importance of this weapon with another reference to scripture
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (NKJV)
Strongholds, arguments and thoughts are all darts that the enemy uses against us. The Sword of the Spirit is equipped to deal with them all.
How to use the Sword of the Spirit. - against arguments and thoughts.
The soul of the Christian is of principal interest to satan. He will use thoughts and arguments to distract us from our faith. One of the greatest battles ever fought is recorded in Luke Chapter 4 - the three temptations that satan brought to Jesus. Jesus overcame by the sword of the Spirit.
We can use the sword of the Spirit to protect and hit back at the enemy by
1. Provide yourself with an understanding of the ugly and destructive nature of sin.
When you appreciate the true nature of sin it will be difficult for the flesh to tempt you down that route.
For example, lust hides under the darkness of ignorance. Like Jacob sleeping with Leah all night long expecting to see Rachel in the morning. A night of drunken passion cost him seven years of hard labour and a lifetime with an unwanted wife (Genesis 29: 16-29).
Before we laugh at the folly of Jacob, having a sexual delight with a woman he obviously could not see, hence making himself completely ignorant of the consequences of his action, lets examine our own life in the light of the lustful desires we have entertained, the consequences of which are painfully obvious to all those who would care to see them.
Why do we do it? Is it because we have not taken enough time to consider the consequences that scripture so adequately warns us of? We need to ponder on these things until the filth and destructive nature of sin becomes a light beam that shines bright even during the dark hours of night when the enemy comes prowling for a victim.
Lust leads us to believe that it is good, fun and exciting; whereas when we awake we discover we have been sleeping with the enemy.
2. Provide yourself with scripture answers to satan's false reasoning's and arguments.
When the enemy presents us with these false arguments, like Goliath before David, it is not the armour of Saul, representing the flesh, that will bring us the victory, but the stones in a sling, that which David had been using and practising with as a Shepherd boy, that brings the victory. Have an answer to the common lies that the devil comes along with. Practise the Word by becoming familiar with it. It will equip you against the Goliath's of life.
For example, the enemy will say 'one little sin is harmless, do it quickly and repent, what harm can it possibly do'.
Much harm, you will hear the scripture screaming. This is when you should pull out the sword of the Spirit; the Word of God, but only if you have sharpened it before hand. Let the following scriptures speak to you. Then take time to mediate on the message and life they bring.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one [point,] he is guilty of all. (NKJV)
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [leading] to death, or of obedience [leading] to righteousness? (NKJV)
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (NKJV)
Sin gives room to the devil. He who gives his time to the devils tools will soon have satan at his elbow aiding him along. Give no room to the enemy (Ephesians 4:27).
The enemy does not give up easily, again he will say to you 'do it in secret and no on will know'.
The enemy hides the main point on purpose. It is not getting exposed that is the real damage of sin but the influence it has on you. Whether done in secret or in public the influence of sin is the same. Ask Gahazi (2 Kings 5) or David (2 Samuel 11). They both sinned in private but still reaped the consequences.
However Jesus (Luke 4) and Joseph (Genesis 39) all faced their temptations to sin in private and overcame. Imagine what the result would have been if any of them had given into sin. Probably a forfeited ministry and even a lost soul. Is the price worth paying?
3. The enemy will show you scores of other Christians who have disobeyed or sinned against God and seem to have got away with it. 'You can do it too' he says.
Some have no light in them. They appear godly and yet they are not of God (Isaiah 8: 20). There are also many old prophets around (1 Kings 11: 13 - 29). People who have made a decision to walk in disobedience. Their judgement will come. Meanwhile you fall into more sin by following their example instead of God's Word. What danger, what folly.
Using the Sword of the Spirit - against the powers of darkness
The enemy sometimes comes against us directly. Bacteria and viruses cause not all sickness. Not all circumstances are natural. Sometimes it is easy to discern that we are up against the forces of darkness. Satan will resist our attempts to preach the gospel and press into the will of God. The Sword of the Spirit is given us to enforce God's will. Lets see some practical applications of the sword of the spirit.
1. See the value of God's word. Get a hunger and desire for it.
- If you are one with Christ then His promises are for you (Galatians 3:29)
- Satan's lie brought the fall (Genesis 3:4) and God's word will enforce the victory (2 Peter 1:3 - 4)
- Place your hope and confidence in the promise. Don't break His word. Make this your desire (Psalm 119:114)
2. Know the promises that are relevant to your circumstances. Don't just assume. Read the law book yourself. Sort them out and use the relevant ones for your specific circumstances accordingly. The best time to do this is when you are in sound health and free of severe oppressions. This is the time to get prepared for the evil day.
3. Have a good overview of the promises available to you. Know that you are to rely on His grace and not your gifting.
4. Meditate on the promises. This will fill you with the Holy Spirit. Godly wisdom and revelation comes to those who dwell on the word. Don't treat them like a passing stranger; rather like Abraham did the angels (Genesis 18:1-15) bid them to stay. By this Abraham received the promise of a child. His persistence brought life. For some reason the Almighty God has ordained it to be this way. We see the same example with Jesus (Luke 24:27-32).
5. Plead the promises at the throne of Grace. Meditation is similar to a lawyer preparing his brief. Once your heart has been filled with the riches of the promises then is the time to execute them. Bring them before the Lord and spread them before Him. Speak them to the circumstances and forces that oppress you. Use them as a sword to dismantle every intention of the enemy against you.
6. Act your faith. A soldier does not drop his guard immediately after wounding the enemy. Watch your words. Idle words can be destructive. Believe the promise and do not let sense and reason defeat you. Live and act as if the promise is true because they are.