“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:14-18)
What is the Sword of the Spirit?
Swords were offensive weapons used in battle. They have a long, double-sided blade and a sturdy handle. Roman swords were similar to the swords we know and have seen, but their points were further sharpened in order to puncture sturdy armor and defeat the enemy (source).
Verse 17 plainly states that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God, and it’s the only weapon that Paul mentions in the armor of God — everything else is simply for defense.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Hebrews writer gives us a visual of just how powerful God’s word (our spiritual sword) is — it’s even sharper than any two-edged sword. It can pierce something much more significant than armor, and that’s the division of soul & spirit and joints & marrow. Because God’s word is a discerner of our thoughts and intentions, it can divide even the smallest and closest-knit parts of us. It can divide what we want and what’s right, us from our family and friends, and even churches, all based on what God says is right. God’s word is the authority for everything we do, and following it will bring change if we follow it accurately. And that Godly change is what we need to defeat the Enemy.
Why do we need it?
We need the sword of the Spirit for several reasons, besides the fact that God has said we do.
Through His word, God created the world, through the Word (His Son) He brought salvation, and through Him (the Word, because He and Christ are one), we have a standard and find our authority — see John 1 and 2 Timothy 3.
God’s word is truth. I wrote about the Belt of Truth a few weeks ago, and I said:
“Truth is needed to combat the lies of the world which come from Satan himself. As I mentioned in the preface to this series, the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Any lies the world tells us are planted by him; Satan is the influence of evil and he will stop at nothing to make sure he succeeds. He may use a relationship, social or entertainment activity, or temptation we have (probably all of the above!) to pinpoint our weaknesses and attack us where we think we’re strong. He will be successful if we don’t know and gird ourselves with the truth.”
This is why we need the sword of the Spirit. With it we’ll have the truth and be able to fight back against Satan.
We already have everything we need to defend ourselves against the devil (belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet), but the spiritual war is always active, and we have to participate. God has given us everything we need to know in His word! The word of God should be our only weapon, and He expects us to know it, understand it, and use it. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he says that all scripture is from God and that with it, we’ll be complete and thoroughly equipped.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
His word is the standard for every area of our lives. We can have all of the defensive mechanisms we need, but in order to win, we must know God’s word.
God’s word is also the seed for growing other Christians (Luke 8). If we want to bring other people to Christ, we have to go to God’s word and present that to them. If they have good, ready hearts, they’ll receive it and see its power.
How do we use it?
The first thing we do with God’s word is simply read it (or even listen to it being read) so we can know it and come to an understanding of it.
Pray about it
I don’t think I do this near enough, but it’s important to ask God for wisdom and understanding in reading His word. If we ask Him for this, I truly believe it will be granted — because He wants all people to understand it and be closer to Him (Matthew 7:7; 1 John 5:14; 2 Peter 3:9)!
Understand and appreciate it
Understanding God’s word is what leads to a stronger appreciation of it and the tools to continue in the truth. After we read it and pray for understanding, the next step is to try our best to understand what God is telling us. If we don’t understand at first, we need to keep reading, praying, and making a solid effort to understand it, because eventually we will (it won’t always come overnight or even over a day).
Grow in it
Growing is always, always necessary. It doesn’t matter how young or old we are, we have to keep growing in His word, and growing into the fullness of God — being complete in Him (Ephesians 3). Growing is why understanding is so necessary; we’ll remain stagnant if we don’t understand what God is telling us.
When we understand it, even just part of it, we have a story worth telling. We now have the tools we need to teach others and shine our lights to the dark world so that more people turn their hearts to Him. Sometimes what stops us is thinking that we have to be scholarly experts before we can share it — (although it can be helpful) that’s just not the case. If we know the gospel and we’ve been impacted by that, we have a responsibility to share it. If we know a little more than that, we have a responsibility to share that as well. We share what we know, and grow in it together.
Rejoice in it
“I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.
I hate and abhor lying,
But I love Your law.”
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
The Psalms are full of songs about rejoicing in the Lord, loving His word, and desiring His law. They’re great examples of the attitudes we should have, especially among trial. God’s word is designed to be wanted and rejoiced in. We’ll see much better results in our spiritual lives if we focus on rejoicing instead of always wondering why God tells us to do what we do.
Verse 18 says, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” Two things really stick out to me in this verse:
-Being prayerful (for ourselves and other saints)
The Bible says to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Our relationship with God is a two-way street; He’s already given us His word, so we have to do our part and continue communication with Him. Prayer is how that’s done, and it should be done all the time, in every situation, before every decision, and for everyone.
We are to pray for fellow Christians. Supplication means “the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving); a prayer asking God’s help as part of a religious service; a humble request for help from someone in authority” (source). I’ve even seen it described as begging. So we’re to be humbly and urgently petitioning to God about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The church is a unit that works together to encourage and fight with each other.
When fighting in a battle, soldiers have to be watching at all times for someone to turn the corner or sneak up behind them. My family and I watched Saving Private Ryan after Thanksgiving (which I don’t recommend watching without some kind of filter service, like VidAngel), and in several scenes, people died because they weren’t paying attention, ready to defend themselves or fight back — some were cowards and some just dropped their guard, leading to fatality. They have to be ready for any situation, which means having their minds and weapons ready. It’s no different in the spiritual war. Christians need to be ever-conscious of Satan’s sneaky techniques and random attacks because most times they’ll show up when we least expect it. If we’re not ready, we’ll lose our footing and give in to temptation, sometimes fatally. Along with wearing God’s armor, we have to use our hearts and minds and pray to Him, knowing that He delivers us; we don’t deliver ourselves.
This takes perseverance! Perseverance is a big theme throughout the Bible because being a Christian isn’t meant to be easy. Keeping God’s commandments in the Old Testament certainly wasn’t easy. Following His word and bending to His will isn’t always easy today, but it’s doable because of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s help. But if we persevere with the deliverance of God and the help of our brothers and sisters, we’ll be able to see the true Light at the end of the tunnel and make our way to heaven.
Throughout this series, I’ve loved watching all of the parts of armor work together. At times it’s been challenging because they intertwine so tightly, but I think that’s how it’s meant to be. If we lose one part of armor, we’ll lose it all. Everything in God’s armor is important and necessary to being a faithful Christian.
This wraps up my Armor of God series. Thank you to everyone who read all the way through, commented, shared, and supported me! I hope these posts have been beneficial.
Related: Preface: Armor of God + Resisting the Devil ; (related posts here and here) // The Belt of Truth // It’s Not About Us // The Breastplate of Righteousness // The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace // The Shield of Faith // The Greatest Commands: Pt 4 from Through My Lens // The Helmet of Salvation
Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Twitter, Instagram (here for blog updates & here for personal) , and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.