The Armor of God: Draw. Your. Sword.

Editor’s Note: For the last several weeks, Stacey Salsbery has been leading us through a blog-study in the armor of God. Today marks the last installment: the sword of the Spirit. We pray this series has blessed your spirit and better equipped you to fight the battles that are sure to come. —Laura Elliott

Did you know the Bible tells us to fight? It’s true, but probably not the type of fighting we’re most familiar with. It’s not fist-throwing. It’s not yelling, scolding, or screaming. It’s not out-of-control responses in retaliation. God says vengeance belongs to Him alone (Rom. 12:19), which is why God commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). 

But that doesn’t mean Christ-followers have to exist as passive and timid members of society while the world crushes timeless biblical values and mocks righteous behavior. No, we’re allowed to fight back. But not with words or weaponry of our own making, nor with anger, and certainly not against our brothers and sisters for our own purposes. 

Instead, the believer’s arsenal is two-fold: the Word of God (known as the sword of the Spirit) and the power of Christ, spoken in love to our neighbors and in boldness before our spiritual enemy. It’s purpose? To further the kingdom of God.

Jesus Taught Us to Use the Bible 

God tells us to fight against evil in the same way that Jesus fought the devil after forty days of fasting: with the truth of Scripture. Christ’s temptation in Matthew 4 is a textbook example of successfully navigating the devil’s schemes. After forty days without food in a bleak wilderness, the devil’s schemes raged strong. “If you are God, just turn these stones into bread,” said Satan to Jesus (my paraphrase). 

Jesus is God, but in that moment, Jesus was also fully human so I have to believe the idea of turning a stone into a savory loaf of heaven-sent bread was tempting for our Savior. After all, I get “hangry” if my dinner gets held up for even an hour, let alone over a month. Besides, how much harm could just one little stone turned into one little loaf really do? The answer is a lot

How does Jesus fight back? With the Word of God—the sword of the Spirit. Matthew 4:4 says that Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” And just like that, round one went to Jesus. 

The devil tried two more times, and Christ responded to each temptation in the same way—with the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit. In verse 7, Jesus says, “It is also written, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’” And in verse 10, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, serve only him.’” 

What happened after that? Verse 11 says the devil left Him. Beloved of God, listen closely. Satan is powerless when it comes to the living, breathing, Words of God. 

The Soldier’s Double-Edged Sword 

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

Two-edged swords are nothing to mess around with. Since both edges of the sword are sharp it can easily penetrate from any direction. It’s not by accident then that a double-edged sword is the type of weapon a Roman soldier carried. These swords were relatively small—anywhere from six to eighteen inches—which allowed the soldier to move quickly, unencumbered. 

There was no messing with a trained and alert Roman soldier willing to wield his weapon. In the same way, there is no messing with a believer willing to use the Word of God. There is no situation or surface or substance too strong for God’s Word to penetrate. In addition, every edge and angle of God’s Word is sharp. The enemy cannot touch the Word of God without serious ramifications. 

It was not a burden for a soldier to sheath his sword on his belt, and similarly, God’s Word is not a burden for us to carry. It secures perfectly to our belt of truth and is easily accessible at any given moment due to its ability to be stored in the heart, mind, and soul. It’s easy to use, and it’s powerful.

But do we use it? There’s no debating the power and truth of God’s Word. Jesus Christ is the Word transformed into flesh, which makes it living! God’s Word is not simply words on a page; it is the unsheathed discourse of a faithful, living God. Nothing can stand against it, and no one can change it. 

No Weapon More Powerful 

Revelation 19 paints a picture of Christ returning to earth on a white horse, arrayed by the armies of heaven. Verse 13 says, “He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God.” Then verse 15 adds, “A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it.” 

As believers, we have the most potent weapon in the world at our disposal—the very words of Jesus. Yet how much do we care? Do we care enough to know what Scripture says? Do we care enough to memorize it? Are we willing to spend time in it? Do we cherish God’s Word? Walk by it? Pray it? Speak it to the lost, the hurting, the despairing, and the confused? 

Or is God’s Word just something nice that sits on the coffee table, or an app we open while the pastor is preaching? Or perhaps it’s more like our backup plan—that book we flip through when all else fails, and we have no more tricks up our sleeve.

Is it any wonder the church appears to be losing the battle against a raging world? Friend, an overpowering enemy is not our problem. The problem is our unwillingness to wield our weapon. 

Trained Soldiers Use Their Weapons 

There are several ways believers can use the Word of God against the devil’s schemes. God has given the Bible to use, not just read. First, we can guard our hearts by speaking the Word to ourselves, fastening it fiercely to our hearts (Psalm 119:9–11). Second, we can share God’s Word with others by speaking the truth in the face of opposition and unpopularity. And third, we can pray God’s Word on behalf of both believers and nonbelievers. 

When my kids are struggling, I use God’s Word to pray for them. When my marriage is stressed, I use Scripture to help me pray for unity and, often, my submission. I also pray God’s Word over my church and my people and our government. 

On days when I’m struggling with doubt, fear, or anxiety, I use Scripture in my prayers, not only to remind me who God is, but to ask for His faithful deliverance. (Here are some specific passages to pray.) 

We aren’t powerless. We have a spiritual arsenal ready and waiting to assist us on the path of righteousness, so let’s fight the way we’re supposed to. Let’s pick up God’s Word and part the waters of opposition with the most powerful weapon in the world. 

No one said it would be effortless to win the war that’s raging against our flesh, grasping for our kids, and seeking to sabotage our faith and relationships. It takes prayer and dedication and truth to win against the enemy. It takes a soldier willing to mobilize for the kingdom of God. 

If the Word of Christ is on your lips, then the sword of the Spirit will be in your hand. And there is no greater weapon we could be holding.

About the Author

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery is a farmer’s wife and mother of four. When she isn’t serving a meal on the side of the road, riding in a tractor with her husband, or driving kids to practice, you’ll find her escaping the crazy … read more …

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