I have a thing for castles. There’s something about castles that just really fascinates me. I love the architecture. I love the history. I love the sheer size of them. They just conjure up images of a world that we’ve lost, probably for the better honestly. Because castles were really in vogue in a very dark time of our history. In the times when castles were big, people still fought with swords.
Today, people don’t fight with swords anymore. We shoot each other, if we’re actually fighting. Swordsmanship was a personal and intimate form of warfare. You couldn’t stand in the background and be an observer if you fought with a sword. You had to know what you were doing, and you had to know who you were fighting.
Today’s verse is Ephesians 6:17.
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6 has always been one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, mainly because I love the entire concept of the Armor of God. I love the symbolism of it, and if you haven’t had a chance to study it, I really recommend that you do. Because these are the weapons that God has given us to fight our enemies.
And who is our enemy?
Certainly not other people. That’s also what Ephesians 6 explains, that the people around us aren’t the ones we’re supposed to be fighting, that there’s a war going on that supersedes this world. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that this world is all there is, but there is another life that is more real than this one on the other side. And Satan, our true enemy, will do anything he can to prevent us from reaching it.
We don’t fight other people. We fight spiritual battles against spiritual forces. And if we’re going to win, we have to have spiritual weapons. That’s the meaning of the Armor of God. Because we need the belt of Truth and the breastplate of Righteousness and the shield of Faith to stand up against the attacks that Satan throws at us, lies and wickedness and doubt. And there are some days when we need to stay behind the shield, but there are other days when we need to go on the offensive.
That’s when we need a sword. According to this passage, part of the Armor of God is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” What does that mean? It’s the Bible.
Other passages of Scripture identify God’s Word as a sword, but in some instances it’s difficult to think about it like that. Because it’s just a book. Right? How can you use a book like a sword?
Well, when the book you’re talking about contains truth it’s easier than you might think, especially if you’re fighting a spiritual battle. But before you can use the Bible like a sword, you have to believe that the Bible really is effective, that it’s real, and that it’s true. If you don’t believe the Bible, you can’t use it.
One of the best examples of how to use Scripture as a weapon comes straight out of Scripture itself, Matthew 4:1-11. This set of verses recalls the time when Jesus was tempted to sin by Satan. Satan threw all sorts of sneaky curve balls at Christ, but Jesus didn’t once give in. How? … He used Scripture. Every time Satan tried to convince Him to sin (using Bible verses taken out of context, if you’ll notice), Jesus quoted Scripture to him.
That’s how you use the Bible as a sword. You know it. You know what’s in it. You know what God says. You know what’s right and what’s wrong, and you’ve made up your mind that you’re going to obey it. And when Satan comes at you, telling you to do something you know is wrong, you can toss Scripture at him and tell him you choose to do what God says.
But there’s a trick to it. Because you can sit in a pew and learn all the Scripture in the world and know every verse in the Bible, but if you never apply it, you’ve just wasted your time. If you never take what you learn and use it, what’s the point? It’s like standing on the front lines of a battle with your sword ready but not moving, even as your enemy shoots at you. You’re neither attacking nor defending; you’re just standing there. What sense does that make? None.
But that’s where a lot of Christians are. We have tons of Bible knowledge. We wear Christian t-shirts with truth all over them. We listen to Christian radio that teaches us the ins and outs of living a Christian life. We know everything we need to know, but we still bury our heads in the sand and let Satan take ground on a daily basis.
It has to stop. We haven’t got that much time left. So pick up your sword, Christian. Get to know it, and get to know your real enemy — not the culture and not the unbelievers but Satan and his army of spiritual forces. And once you learn how to use God’s Word, don’t just stand on the sidelines. Attack. You’ve got armor; use it.