The Sword (unabridged)

How long has it been since your last sword fight? Mine occurred during a visit to my seven-year-old nephew’s house. He handed me a [plastic] sword, and with squinting eyes and curled lip, sneered, “On guard, Uncle Pres.”

I dropped to my knees to even our heights. He danced, and bobbed, and whooped of imminent victory with every successful lunge toward my midsection.

But that’s enough about child’s play. How long has it been since you drew the sword of the Spirit from its scabbard and fought for real?

Ephesians 6:10-17 details the armor of God by saying it is to be used in fighting against “the world forces of this darkness,” and “spiritual forces of wickedness.” In all ways but one, Paul lists defensive armament.

And then, after the Believer is fully prepared for battle, he places an offensive capability in his hand: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17).

The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, is devoted to the use of the word of God, the sword of the Spirit. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word” (v. 9). “Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You” (v. 11). “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (v. 105). “The sum of Your word is truth” (v. 160).

I envision the scabbard of this sword as the leather covers around the Bible. Within its nearly 1200 pages, we are trained for battle and infused with power to charge the enemy’s lines.

It would be foolhardy to go into battle with only a sword.

We should also carry a dagger on our belt, and the sheath for this dagger is our heart. “Your word I have treasured in my heart,” the great warrior, David, declared.

As we charge into the spiritual fray, with sword drawn, we are confident in our mighty weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

While we wade through the enemy’s ranks with drawn sword, the dagger is for close battle, hand-to-hand combat, like that fought in the trenches of life, the jungles of darkness in the wee hours of the night, the holes, caves, ambushes, and surprise attacks aimed at our back and neck. It is here we fight quickly, aggressively, and precisely using the sword of the Spirit hidden in our hearts.

We study the use of the broad, long blade from the entirety of God’s word (ref. 2 Tm. 2:15). We meditate in our heart upon the dagger of the Spirit (ref. Josh. 1:8). Proficiency in each comes from both practice in godly living (ref. Heb. 5:14) and mentoring by the Spirit of God (ref. Jn. 14:26).

In all ways, in every area of life, in each arena of battle, the Spirit teaches us to rightly divide His word. Unless we develop a healthy appreciation for the offensive capability of this implement of warfare, we will not develop the confidence needed to wage war against the spiritual forces formed about our position.

Hollywood sword fights must not be at all what sword fights were in real life.

I believe they were desperate struggles, decided by subtleties in prowess, and the advantage gained through practice and preparation. Such are the battles we engage in each day as knights in the kingdom of God who find our strength in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10).

John describes Jesus’ use of the sword of the Spirit when he writes, “And from His mouth comes a sharp sword” (Rev. 19:15a). He also declares that Jesus’ name is, “The Word of God” (19:13b). Put succinctly, Jesus spoke who He was, and He was what He spoke.

Oh, that you and I might know Jesus, and the word of God, such that this sword would be an extension of our hearts and minds as we engage the battles of this life. And that the living of our lives would be indicative of the truth, as well as the truth concerning our true identities in Christ, which is the belt girded around our waist (Eph. 6:14). If this is the case, then what we say and do will be indicative of who we are as well.

To the Prince of Darkness, the dragon of old, the fallen arch angel, Lucifer, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of the living God, on guard!”