17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
Like a great coach, God says to His people, "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. (Spiritual warfare is no joke!)
So take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting, you'll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life." (Ephesians 6:13-16 The Message)
Having declared and issued all this great “defensive gear,” God issues one more piece – “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." What in the world is this? How does it work?
Three things pop out:
TWO-WAY PLAYER: A sword is a two-way weapon. It defends and blocks, as well as attacks and slashes.
That's how God's Word and His Spirit function, as well. Let's value the way the Word and the Spirit play both sides of the ball (defense and offense), and play well with them. We need both to win.
TWO-EDGED NATURE: Spirit equals Word, and Word equals Spirit. God's Word and His Spirit pair up well. They hang out all the time. When you find one, you find the other. They point to each other. They powerfully intersect. Both speak.
Both edges cut well. Both convict. Both teach, train, instruct and reprove. Both stun and stagger the enemy of our souls. What a package deal (Hebrews 4:12, John 16:8-15, 2 Timothy 3:16)!
TAKE IT TO MAKE IT: God invades lives through His Word and His Spirit. He wields this sword to lovingly capture and constrain us.
And it is this sword He wants us to take and wield too. When we do, we wield His power. Victory awaits this sword-bearer. With God we don't play “make it, take it,” we play '”take it, make it.”
Reflect: Are you playing well, living in harmony with the Word and the Spirit, letting them poke at you? Are you playing both ends of the floor/both sides of the ball in your spiritual life?
Are offense and defense getting enough attention? Where could you use a little more sword-bearing, more fight in your life?
A prayer to consider: LORD, help me to bear Your sword well and fight well from victory to victory. The war rages in me and around me. Keep me sensing the power Your Word and Spirit bring. I press on!