Sword of the Spirit
The sword is the final piece to the armor of God that Paul, in Ephesians, instructs us to take up. Although the sword can be used defensively in combat, it is the only offensive weapon given in the list. Paul says, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Notice that we must take the sword. Merely recognizing that the Bible is valuable, good, powerful or even inspired is not enough. We must take it, own it and use it.
The Christian has been given truth—the very words of God—to fight against the Satan’s lies and schemes. Think about what an arsenal is the Word of God: truth about God, creation, fulfillment, joy, happiness, good, evil, purpose, eternity and more. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is living and active. It can discern the thoughts and intentions of the believer’s heart. We need this on a daily basis. It convicts us of sin in our lives and exposes our hearts before the Lord. It is with this understanding that David prays in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
The Word of God also consoles us in our suffering and pain. The world’s attempt to comfort with words such as “hope you feel better” or “things will turn around” or “every cloud has a silver lining” or “keep your chin up” are hollow words at best. There is nothing that compares to the hearing and reading of the very promises of our heavenly Father. Here’s the powerful point of Scripture: it is not merely words that heal and comfort, but the very person of God Himself.
It’s important to note that the word Paul uses for “word” in the phrase “word of God” is not the usual logos, which refers to general statements, but is rhema, which refers to individual words or sayings. Paul is stressing the importance of knowing the particular portions of Scripture and not just the whole. Jesus modeled this perfectly while being tempted in the garden. What was Jesus’ weapon against Satan? A small yet powerful phrase, “It is written.” Jesus knew the truth of Scripture, believed the truth of Scripture and therefore used the truth of Scripture to fight the enemy. Let us follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus and follow Paul’s instruction to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).