Front entry at Glen Eyrie Castle - Colorado Springs, CO


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.

Front entry at Glen Eyrie Castle - Colorado Springs, CO

Front entry at Glen Eyrie Castle – Colorado Springs, CO

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.

The only sword in the world sharp enough to cut through our crap

I have always heard the Bible called a sword. When I was little, we did sword drills, which basically were contests to see how quickly you could find a specific verse. I wasn’t ever sure why we called the Bible a sword until I realized that that Scripture actually calls itself a sword in multiple places.

I think it’s fitting. After all, if you rush into battle, you have to take a weapon to defend yourself with. It’s the same with spiritual battles too. We have to have a weapon to fight with, and Scripture is the only thing that will work in the battles we have to fight.

Today’s verse is Hebrews 4:12.

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

I’m going to demonstrate a portion of my geekiness this morning. There’s a Japanese anime that I really enjoy watching called Rurouni Kenshin. What I like the most about it is that it really lacks the odd, strange things that permeate most anime (at least in the first two arcs). Most anime is based around spiritual stuff or weird things, not that I mind that generally speaking, but Rurouni Kenshin is different. It’s actually a historical anime, based on the life of an actual assassin during the Meiji Revolution in 1858. The show revolves around sword techniques.

Basically, without going into too much detail, the main character has taken a vow never to kill again to atone for all the lives he took during the revolution, and to help himself keep that vow, he carries a reverse-blade sword. It’s a sword that has the blade on the wrong side. So when he swings it at people in self-defense, he can’t kill them. He’ll give them a good bruise, but he won’t end their life.

I thought about this aspect of this show today when I read our verse. This is one of those verses that I’ve grown up hearing, but I’ve never really thought about it.

What’s the big deal about the Bible being a two-edged sword? I get the fact that it’s sharp. Obviously. But why the metaphor?

Going back to the show, the main character has to be careful to swing his sword a certain way. Becuase if he flips the sword around and uses it, he’ll kill people because the blade of his sword is on the wrong side.

If you have a sword that is sharp on both sides, it doesn’t matter which way you swing it. It will cut no matter what direction it goes. And I guess that’s what hit me this morning when I read this verse.

It doesn’t matter who uses the Bible to reach others. It doesn’t matter where you’re located or what language you speak. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how educated you are. The Bible is a double-edged sword, and no matter how you swing it, it will cut through barriers.

The last part of this verse says that it “exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” The Amplified Version puts it this way: “exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.”

The Bible cuts through the crap that we use to hide our motivations and our intentions. It cuts through the stories we come up with to use as a shield to protect ourselves. It cuts through the lies that we tell ourselves. And it makes us understand that we are insufficient on our own.

The only way it can do this is because it’s the Word of God. It’s the sharpest sword there is, and there is no defense against it. But even though it can cut through anything, it never leaves us bleeding. Christ already bled for us.

The Bible reveals our faults and our failures and reminds us that Christ already took care of them.

Every day is a battle, no matter where you are. If you’re a Christian, you’re in a war. So don’t forget to take your sword and don’t hesitate to use it today to defend yourself and to charge the enemy’s line. Nothing can stop the Sword of God and no one can escape it. Not even the ones who wield it.