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God’s Armour, Part 6: The Sword of the Spirit

by | Dec 30, 2017 | God's Armour (A Mini-Series), Protection, Spiritual Life, Warfare, Weapons

Last Tuesday, in “God’s Armour, Part 5”, we saw that when we don the “Helmet of Salvation”, we protect our most vulnerable body part, our mind. We do so by replacing the devil’s lies with Truth, Truth that the victory is already won; by choosing to believe in what appears impossible; by keeping an eternal perspective; and by treasuring our Salvation.

This brings us to the final piece of God’s Armour: “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17b NET).

The sword that would have been Paul’s inspiration when he wrote about the sword of the Spirit was likely the “gladius”, the primary sword of a Roman soldier. It is said that after putting on his protective armour and taking up his shield, the fully equipped Roman legionary would then take his weapons: javelins, a dagger, and a “gladius”.

In much the same way, we are not considered to be fully armed on a spiritual level without offensive weapons, and Paul advises us to take up a “sword”, the “word of God”, made up of the ancient Jewish Scriptures paired with the gospels of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Apostles.

But wait. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how to use a sword. Isn’t it pretty useless unless you know how to use it?

The Romans knew this. It is said that Roman soldiers had to attend weapons training every day, at which time they practiced hand-to-hand combat with wooden swords and shields that were deliberately much heavier than those they used in battle. If the roman soldiers had to train every day, how much more then, should we spend time in training to use our “sword”?

How can we learn to properly wield our “sword”?

By spending time in God’s Word every day. We need to know it, memorize it and be familiar with key verses; and we need to practice being open to God’s Spirit as He impresses us with meanings for specific situations and as He plants the words in our minds. This takes time and effort, yes; but just like the daily training ensured the Roman soldiers went into battle fully-equipped, this daily “training” with God’s Word will also ensure that when we are brought face-to-face with the fiery darts of the enemy, we know how to wield our “sword”. We will be able to defend ourselves and our faith. We will be able to fight back against the schemes of the devil.

As mentioned above, however, the Roman soldier did not go into battle armed only with a sword. The Roman soldiers would use their javelins and daggers offensively by throwing them at the enemy. Their purpose was to disable enemy shields and disrupt their formation. This would then allow them to engage in closer combat.

We must note that God’s armour does not include these items. The only weapon we are told to take up is the sword…Does the fact that the javelin and dagger are not mentioned by Paul mean that we are actually not meant to be offensive or aggressive in our advances? It’s food for thought…

We also note that all the armour, including the sword, is meant to be protective in nature, and this “sword of the Spirit” is the only item mentioned by Paul that can be used defensively…Could it be that while engaged in our Spiritual battles, we are only meant to be defensive? More food for thought…

One further notable lesson can be derived from the study of Roman armaments. Let’s remember that the Roman soldiers would first cover themselves with their armour before taking up their weapons. Then, once in combat, we are told that they would lead with their shields before thrusting with their swords. In other words, no act of defense would be done without full protection ensured!

Interestingly, our spiritual “sword”, is also the last piece of equipment we are told to take up. Could it be that the only way to use the “sword” to its maximum potential is to already be dressed in the full amour of God? That in order to truly engage the enemy with the Word of God, we must first fully embrace our salvation, we must see ourselves as clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we must hold on to Jesus Christ, our Truth, and we must stand in readiness with the gospel of peace as our foundation? And only when we have fully engaged our faith should we attempt to use God’s Word in our defense?

Isn’t it interesting that these gifts of Jesus are exactly what the traps of the devil prevent us from seeing. The devil knows this, and he also knows that it is only by keeping us from using God’s armour that he can succeed in causing us to fall into his foul traps in the first place. Thus, the enemy is not so eager for us to realize that the spiritual armaments we need to completely avoid his snares are ours, free of charge, gifts granted to us by Jesus’ ultimate gift that we celebrate this season.

Dear God, help us to fully embrace Your armour this year. Help us to protect ourselves against the enemy of our souls by fully embracing Your Salvation, by accepting Your righteousness as our own, by focusing on Your Truth, by shielding ourselves with faith, and by standing ready upon the gospel of peace. Then help us to spend time daily in Your Word so that we learn it and practice hearing You speak to us through it, so that when the flaming arrows of temptation, doubt, discouragement, etc. are at the door, we will face them changed, empowered, protected, ready to continue the battle “…so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day” and then, “…and having done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13 NET). In the precious name of Jesus, Amen

This is the last lesson from the God’s Armour series. If you have missed any of the lessons, please find them by clicking here, or email me and I will send them to you. God bless you as you go into the Christmas season and the New Year fully clothed–in God’s Armour!

In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire “God’s Armour” mini-series, please click here.)


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