Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit
Every warrior knows that in order to succeed in battle, one must be prepared both offensively and defensively. Without one or the other, we are doomed to failure. At first glance, the armor of God is all about defense. We do, however, have one offensive weapon – the sword of the Spirit.
The Word of God is our sword – our only offensive weapon against the enemy.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He responded to each attack of the enemy by quoting Scripture. There’s no doubt that the enemy already knew these passages. (It’s safe to say that he knows the Bible forwards and backwards, which is why He’s so good at distorting it.) Jesus used these verses, however, to put the enemy in his place – to remind the enemy of his place in this world.
The enemy likes to deceive us into thinking that he is somehow in charge – that he can offer us more than God can. Think about it – every temptation to sin is only tempting because it somehow benefits us. We make bad choices because we “deserve to be happy.” We live in sin because “we need to be true to ourselves” or “we deserve to have a little fun.” We cheat, steal, and lie “to get ahead” or “make more money.”
Sin may benefit us in the short-term. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be so enticing. Scripture is clear, however, that sin always leads to negative consequences.
Using the sword of the Spirit as our weapon not only puts the enemy in his place; it helps us to stand firm and not give in to his lies.
In a previous post on the shield of faith, we learned about the fiery arrows that the enemy likes to shoot our way. The following is a list of those arrows along with examples from God’s Word that we can use against the enemy when he tries to deceive us with these lies:
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. – Romans 1:20 (NLT)
Temptation to Sin –
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. – James 1:17 (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. – Ephesians 2:8 (NLT)
Empty Religion/False Teachings –
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 (NLT)
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. – Psalm 34:22 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
When a soldier goes into battle with his sword at his side, it’s important that he knows how to use it. His training is crucial. Just as a soldier learns how to effectively use his sword; we must be trained and ready to use the sword of the Spirit.
In other words, we can’t use the Word of God against the enemy if we don’t know it. This is why we must be reading our Bibles on a regular basis. We must know it forwards and backwards and have it memorized and ready.
Additionally, we need to be spending time with the Word – Jesus. He is described in John 1 as “the Word.” It is through the Word (Jesus) that the words of the Bible gain their power and authority over the enemy.
Learning to use the sword of the Spirit takes practice.
The Word of God is our primary weapon against the deception of the enemy, and we need to be armed and ready to use it at all times.
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