Put on salvation as your helmet AND take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:17
Notice the fact that the helmet and the sword are joined together. Take the helmet and the sword. In order to protect our minds against the attack of the enemy we need to both defence and offence. There is a time to defend and a time to go on the attack. The Sword is the only offensive weapon that Paul includes in the list. If you go back to Gem 701 you will see there were a number of offensive weapons available to the Roman soldier. The spear, the lance, 2 kinds of swords, 2 kinds of axes, the mace or battle club with spikes, the bow with arrows and the sling. But Paul only chooses to list the sword. Because that is the one that is most prevalent in Scripture. The verse that immediately comes to mind is:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
The sword Paul chooses to list is indeed the two edged sword. This sword was short, with a razor sharp blade both sides of the sword in order to be able to strike on both the forward and the backward stroke. It resembled a large dagger; short and stubby with a broad blade.
The Christian ought not to be wanting to take life and destroy it. The Lord is not interested in take us off the face of the earth and assigning us to hell. He is long suffering and wants all human beings to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. It is satan who wants to rob kill and destroy. Hence the only offensive weapon for us to use is the two edged sword. The writer to the Hebrews makes its use clear. It is for dividing the soul and spirit, to discern and judge the intentions of the heart. Soul and spirit in this context are intended to mean the distinction between what comes from our soulish area and what comes from our spirit. Judging our real motives and discerning our heart. Interesting isn’t it that the sword has two edges. One face toward our enemy and one face toward us. As we use the Word of God, and especially the sword of the Spirit in this spiritual warfare – it usually ends up judging us and exposing our heart as we wield it against the enemy. For instance, I often find as I write these Gems the Lord will use the Gem or the portion of His Word I have written to reflect back on me. So that what I say matches what I am. He is looking for integrity in the inner most parts. That is exactly what the Word of God does.
There are some who feel the Sword of the Spirit [I refer to the Holy Spirit with a capital S and the human spirit with a small s] refers to the Rhema Word of God. The portion of the Word that has been quickened to us by the Holy Spirit. Meaning those moments when the Word of God leaps off the page at us or rings in our ears and we know that it is directed at us personally. That is how it works, we can use it generally to make a point or to emphasise a principle but the Holy Spirit will then turn that principle or point back at us in order to bring conviction. The Word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to bring to light the true attitudes and motivation of our hearts and then expose those same attitudes to us so we come to a realisation of what we are really like deep down inside. The Bible writers talk of the deceitfulness of the heart. The way in which we can mask the truth about ourselves with cover up or excuses or other ways of avoiding the truth. But the Holy Spirit keeps exposing it and bringing it back to our attention. That is part of the spiritual warfare too because ultimately we must be exposed to the Truth about ourselves and the world around us.
The second element of using the use the Word of God in battle is in our offensive against the devil. He is whispering lies to our minds and inner being. Our thought life can become plagued by lying thoughts that fill our minds with accusations. That is why it is important to defend ourselves with the truth (the belt) – always seek the truth about the situation and ourselves. Defend yourself against the devil’s accusations with the fact that you are covered by righteousness of Christ. He has died in your place and given you His right standing with God. You are made holy because you wear the covering of Christ. The devil can’t counter that. Defend yourself too by your statements of faith based on the Word of God and His promises and the fact that you are being saved by that same faith and are a work in progress. We have covered those in previous gems in this series. But we must learn to use the Word of God in a more focused way. Like a laser beam that can be used as a weapon, by focusing the light on a particular point with intensity. (See Gem 788)
Jesus demonstrated how to do that when He was attacked by satan in the wilderness.
The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One must not live on bread alone, but on every word coming out of the mouth of God.'” He said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘God will put his angels in charge of you,’ and ‘With their hands they will hold you up, so that you will never hit your foot against a rock.'” Jesus said to him, “It is also written, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.'”
He said to Jesus, “I will give you all of these things if you will bow down and worship me!” Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'”Matthew 4:3-7, 9-10
Notice each time satan made a claim or made an allegation Jesus countered with the Word of God. The most effective way to counter the devil and go on the offensive is to quote the Word of God to him which is taylor-made to counter that thought which is going around and around in our minds. If we can topically select the portion of the Word of God which counters the devil and stand firm, he will flee. The Bible promises us that.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.James 4:7
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and with the temptation will also provide the way of of escape that you made be able to endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
These are great verses to remind the devil and tell him to push off.
How did I know those? Did I go look them up? Well I could do but I have learned them by heart. They are memorized and stored ready for use when I need them. Those along with hundreds of others.
How can a young man keep his way pure, by guarding it according to your word. I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:9
Start storing the Word in your heart. Begin a program of Scripture memory. Your don’t want to go to a doctor who must read his text books before he can tell you what you need. Likewise you don’t want to fumble and drop the ball in the middle of the contest because you didn’t know how to counter your opponent. Learn how to counter the devil’s accusations to you by quoting the Word of God. To do that you have to know the Word of God better.
Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. ISV
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV2 Timothy 2:15
To know what rightly dividing means you will have to wait for the Berean Insights web site to be fully functional or wait till we Gem 2 Timothy or do your own work and find out. We are nearing the end of Ephesians. Where would you like to go next? Give me your input.
We must quit bending the Word to suit our situation. It is we who must be bent to that Word, our necks that must bow under the yoke.Elisabeth Elliot
Let your failures refine you, not define you.Max Lucado
Remember the plumber and teacher, Gem 710 do something about your lack of the Word now!Ian Vail
GOD will never put more on you, than you will have in you.Ian Vail
God’s Word has every prescription for every human need&hurt. But we must give out the RIGHT medicine for EACH illness!Rick Warren
Your notes are no good to you on your iPad, put them in your memory so they are readily accessible.Ian Vail