Good Swordsmanship (17-08-20)
Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:11,17)
The tempter came to Jesus and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:3-4)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
The sword of the Spirit is the final piece in the armour of God that Paul instructs us to put on. Like all of the others, it relates directly to Jesus. Jesus is our righteousness, he is the truth, his is the gospel of peace, he is the basis of our faith and he is our salvation. The sword, we are told likewise, is the sword of God's Spirit, which is the Word of God, and Jesus himself is described as the Word of God.
Unlike the other parts of the armour of God, the sword is the only piece that can be used defensively and offensively (in the sense of advancing the boarders, not of being rude). The other pieces are only used defensively.
We see Jesus using the word of God defensively when he is tempted by the devil in the wilderness. To each of the temptations, which are based on distortions of the truth, Jesus relies with a quotation form the Old Testament, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’ being one of them.
We are all tempted to do or say the wrong thing at times, and a little voice will try to justify to us why it is OK to do or say this. At these times it is helpful to remind ourselves what God’s word says.
At other times there might be a voice in our head trying to undermine us, to make us feel useless or criticised. This niggling voice can come from many situations in our past, but the one sure way to deal with it is to defend yourself with the truth of what God says about you in his word. You are loved, you are special, you are forgiven, you are a child of God. you are a new creation…
Using God's word on the offensive might be when we are speaking with someone about what we believe. There are many times when our words alone are inadequate, but the judicial, sensitive use of God's word can cut right through to the core of what someone is thinking or feeling.
Soldiers in the Roman army would be well-trained in swordsmanship; they would know how to wield their sword in defence and in attack. As Christians, we too must be well-trained in the use of our sword, God’s word. Both reading it and applying to our lives and to our conversations.
As Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’.
Father God, teach me your ways,
that your word becomes a lamp for my feet
and a light on my path.