Pick up Your Sword (and know how to use it!)

Review time! We’ve covered a lot of ground in a few weeks, so I’d like to share a little summary for anyone just joining in…(click the links for more information about each topic!)

You are the priceless, cherished, beloved child of God. From the time of creation, He has wanted a relationship with humanity and has pursued us with the only love that can fulfill our hearts…sin separated us from Him, but Jesus made a way for us to reach Him. Who is this God? He is the glorious King, your Creator , your Provider , your Compassionate Savior and friend. He is holy, just, and merciful. He is true and faithful, mighty and able to do so much more than we can even imagine. He gives us freedom from sin, strength to get through our problems, and the hope of eternity in Heaven…and He has a purpose for every single one of us. We’re all called to go out into our world, to love others in word and action, to make sure that everyone knows about the love of our God.  But in this mission to live in obedience to God’s Word, we have an enemy.

Satan is constantly at work to draw us away from God…he wants dominion over this world and each person in it. In Ephesians chapter six, we learn about the “armor of God” — we do not face Satan in our own power. Paul tells us to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might.” We wear the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and shoes that are the preparation of the gospel of peace. We are protected from satan’s attacks by our shield of faith.

Which brings us to this: “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” ~Ephesians 6:17

It just makes me want to do a little jig to think about the amazing gift we have right in our hands. The Word of God is not some meaningless, powerless book…”For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12) It is alive because He is alive! The words of the Bible are His words…the Bible is a way for God to speak directly into our lives. And if you know what a glorious, magnificent God He is, then you know that every word that comes from Him is enough to transform your life…to transform the world and everything in it.  His words slice through temptation and trouble…they comfort us when we’re in sorrow. When we’re under attack, the Word of God is stronger than any enemy. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4) 

But!  Would you get onto a battlefield, even with the best weapon, if you haven’t trained with that weapon?  Of course not!  You wouldn’t even consider facing a skilled enemy without first preparing yourself. You’d need technique, stamina…you’d need to know your weapon before using it.

If you ever really hear anything I say here, please hear this:  study God’s Word.  The battle we fight is not an easy one…every day, we have to deal with internal and external problems…every day, we have to decide to stand firm in our faith.  If you’ve been training with your weapon, then the Word of God will rise up in your memory and your heart and get you through the tough moment. 

If  the Word isn’t a part of your heart and your mind, then you’re vulnerable to emotions that try to sway you and situations that try to pull you down. How can we obey God if we don’t know what He asks of us?  And maybe you’re thinking that you don’t like to read or that it’s too hard to understand…but do not let that keep you from the Bible.  I know from experience that the Bible isn’t like studying a regular book, which you might read and forget. If you study God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, the words of God — words of life and love and victory! — will be there for you when you need them.  If you know Him — His character and what He’s done and the promises He’s made to you — then you can trust Him when times get hard.  Believe me, He has given us this book to help us! 

So I challenge you: get into training!  Spend time studying your Bible!  Consider yourself on a mission…revolutionize your life with the knowledge of this amazing God you serve!  Take up your sword with confidence!

Paul goes on to say that we should be “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  (Eph. 6: 18-20)

 With this armor, with the Word of God in our hearts, we can speak boldly of the gospel. We can be a light in the darkness. Let’s share this love that has transformed our lives!

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