Hi, friend. We’re so close to the end of the armor. How are you feeling? Are the battles you were facing before we started suiting up seeming smaller and smaller? Does God seem bigger?
I’m excited to talk about this last piece of armor with you. There’s so much we can unpack in just this one verse, but I’ll do my best to be concise and not trail off on tangents (although, no promises!).
Ephesians 6:17: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Hebrews 4 says that the word of God is powerful and alive: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The sword holds the power to blind armies, destroy enemies, turn over tables, uproot evil, brand rebellion, and conquer the flesh. It’s the sword of the Spirit, which means it protects the good fruit we seek to bear – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) – at the same time destroying those who seek to devour it. The sword does all of that – which means God’s word does all of that.
Throughout these past weeks we’ve read verse after verse and studied the armor as it relates to the whole Bible to give us confidence in our Leader. God’s armor isn’t just an armor for the church in Ephesus or for Paul’s closest companions. It’s an armor for each of us today and the practical application of each part ensures total security in the face of life’s biggest storms.
In my own life, I see the power of the sword when I open my Bible daily and choose to let God’s words lead me through my day. I think many times we pick up the Bible and read a couple verses as a way to show God that we love Him. Almost like a ritual or a tradition that we feel we need to do to earn our name of image bearer. I’m guilty of this myself. It’s easy to believe the voice in my head that tells me that reading my Bible and memorizing scripture is my way of showing God I love Him.
However, when I convince myself of that, I have it backwards. Reading my Bible and memorizing scripture is not how I show love to God. It’s how He shows love to me. He chose, years and years ago, to see fit that a book would share His words with the world. And when I choose to pick up those words and read them over my life, He sees fit to speak directly to me through them. When I choose to memorize His words to recall them later, He provides me with peace. When I choose to sit in stillness and listen for Him, he rewards me with rest and clarity.
This is only a piece of the bigger picture though. What I love about the word of God is that, just like it doesn’t stop with words on a page, it didn’t start there either. The Word started when there was nothing. The world was void. There was no light. No life. There was darkness and there was God.
And then there was the word of God. The word of God became Light and the word of God formed life.
The very word that spoke light into existence, that formed the earth, the sea, plants, animals, stars – that very word formed mankind in the image of God.
John 1:1-4: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
When Paul tells us to take up the sword and anchor it to our side so we can draw it when needed, he’s actually reminding us to anchor ourselves next to Jesus. We need to keep the Word so close that it’s impossible for us to move without feeling the weight of it pressing against our bodies. Scripture, Jesus, the Word. In it we live and move (Acts 17:28), and the fight that we are so desperately begging for God to handle cannot be won without the power of His Word.
I love this piece of armor because of all it stands for. It’s a powerful weapon that destroys and protects all in the same blow. And that’s the same with scripture. Verse after verse tear down the enemy while building up our Spirit. And it's the same with Jesus. He trampled death and destroyed the grave with the very same breath that poured out love and grace on all mankind. Without a sword, we’re not ready to go up against our enemies. We have nothing to scare them with. Without the word of God, we’re not ready to go up against Satan and all the crazy this world brings. But with our sword – with the Word – we’re ready. We have all the power – not just words on a page, but actual living, breathing, all-evil-defeating power that we can hold before us to scare off the evil one.
So strap it on tight (open your Bible). Make sure the handle is easy to grasp (memorize scripture that you can readily recall). Polish the blade (sit with the Word and soak in His words). And get ready to see your enemies fall.