Put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13)
As you know, the Christian life is a battle, from beginning to end. We are at war against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Indeed, when we awake from our sleep each morning, we rise to continue the combat we were engaged in the day before. The question is, what weapons we are to be using in order to secure our victory?
In the sixth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes a number of defensive weapons of war that we are to have at the ready for our fight. The belt of truth will deflect Satan’s lies; the breastplate of righteousness is the body armor that protects our hearts; supernatural shoes equip us to stand firm as we preach the good news of the Gospel; the shield of faith extinguishes Satan’s fiery arrows of temptations; and the helmet of salvation keeps renewing our minds to the truths of the Gospel.
All these weapons of war are defensive weapons, divinely designed to protect us from spiritual attacks launched by the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). But there is one more weapon that we can and should take up and use for both defense and offense: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. When Paul wrote of a sword, he was undoubtedly thinking of the Roman gladius (you probably recognize the root of the English word “gladiator”), a sword of approximately two feet in length, which was sharpened on both sides to a razor’s edge. This short sword could be easily maneuvered to parry the thrusts of an attacker and also allowed the solider to close with his enemy and attack.
In the time when Jesus walked the earth, Roman soldiers had used the gladius to conquer a vast domain and subdue it to the rule of Rome. The disciple of Christ should use the sword of the Spirit to take the glorious Gospel of the amazing grace of God into every arena where he or she steps foot. We are to use the truth of God’s Word as the greatest weapon we have in our fight against all the enemies of God, whether we are defending our faith or going on offense to expand the kingdom of Christ.
When Jesus was under attack by Satan during His wilderness experience (Matthew 4), what weapon did He use? The sword of the Spirit. He simply quoted Scripture to parry all three of Satan’s temptations and in the end, it was Satan who retreated and our Lord who stood firm.
Every word in the Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and we should see this “breath” of God as life-giving, just as it was in the creation account. God created everything ex nihilo (Latin for “out of nothing”) simply by speaking it into existence, and Isaiah 55:10-11 reminds us that God’s Word never returns to Him empty—that is, having accomplished nothing. The writer of Hebrews also refers to God’s Word as a sword (Hebrews 4:12), which is living and active and sharper than any manmade sword. This supernatural sword in the hands of the saints of God is designed to empower us and equip us for victory against all of our enemies.
This is what it means to be fighting in the strength of the Almighty. When we attempt to fight in our strength, defeat is certain. But when we, like David, find ourselves fighting against any giant, let us always remember his words of victory: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel.”
Press on, embattled believer! The Lord your God has promised to be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9), and He has fully equipped you to stand firm in your faith and advance and grow.This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!