Thus far we have examined everything but the sword. So in coming to our last piece of armour it seems appropriate to see all of them in context.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Ephesians 6:14-17 (NKJV)
When we reflect on this it is clear that all of the pieces we have examined so far are for stability, like the shoes, and protection. The sword of the spirit is unique in that it can be used for both attack and defense. We see that the sword is the word, the scripture. The best example of someone wielding this sword is found in Matthew 4:1-11 (see also Luke 4:1-12). We should expect Jesus to be a skilled swordsman, which He demonstrated, but He also expects us to develop our skills in the realm of parry and thrust.
As an aid to skill development, let’s see how Jesus used His sword in a portion of this passage.
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” Matthew 4:5-7 (NKJV)
While it is important to note that Satan is a liar by nature, he did not misquote this scripture (Ps. 91:11-12). His strategy was to misrepresent scripture to deceive! Psalm 91:11-12 was true, but could be claimed only if one was walking in submission to Yahweh. The Father was not leading Jesus to leap off of the temple so Psalm 91 was not applicable and Jesus knew that. Satan was tempting Jesus to tempt His Father.
In one swift move with His sword Jesus did a parry and thrust and ended this encounter.
Now to us. To effectively wield the word we need to know it and apply it in context. Read through Paul’s letters and see how many promises have a condition attached. Here are a couple of examples.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9 (NKJV)
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:23 (NKJV)
Take the first one. If we want to claim His peace in our lives we need to walk in obedience. If we have our peace disrupted and are being obedient we take up the sword. We can declare His peace (shalom) over our lives and we can receive it. This is taking up the sword of the Spirit.
So, let’s stay in His word and develop our skills with the sword He provides.
Next week, to wrap all of this up we will look at the following verse.
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)