Day 22: The Sword of the Spirit
ON THE OFFENSE
Today is the final lesson on the armor of God. This is the first offensive weapon presented to do battle against the enemy and his schemes, the sword of the spirit.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
Why do you think the word of God is compared to a sword? We believe that it's because there is great power in words, speaking generally. They have the power to build up or tear down. How much more infinitely powerful is the word of God? Using His word, he spoke all of creation into existence. His word is available to us in what we call the Bible. It gives us strength and wisdom beyond the world around us. It equips us with supernatural strength to tear down the strongholds of the enemy.
The enemy cannot stand tall in the presence of God's word. When we wield it as a sword, God is glorified and the enemy flees. Notice the response of Satan after Christ continually used the word to thwart his temptations:
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. -Matthew 4:10-11 (NIV)
THE TRAP OF SELF-PITY
Fighting back with the Word of God takes time, prayer, and discipline. Make a habit of being in the word daily, memorizing scripture so that we will be able to stand up against the wiles of the devil. Notice that Christ didn’t have to consult a book, he had scripture memorized. There was nothing that the enemy could do to stop him. In full confidence, Christ answered all of the enemy’s temptations with sound scripture.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
You have amazing power at your disposal through the word of God. This is a weapon of war and must be used as such in the face of temptation. If we want freedom, the Word of God has to be wielded.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. -Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
So how specifically are we to wield this weapon? It starts with actually having access to the Bible. For most, this is as simple as downloading a free app on our cell phones. For others, it may mean getting a hard copy of the Bible. Either way, the word of God is something we should have on our person often. Once we have a Bible on us we need to make a habit of reading it regularly. Not forcefully or out of obligation, but out of the truest desire to please God. Reading the Bible isn't about glorifying ourselves (i.e. reading to simply make ourselves better people) but rather it's about glorifying God. Just the very act of indulging in scripture brings honor to God. The fruits and results of reading God's word happen naturally. You don't have to force yourself to grow by reading the Bible, it happens on its own over time:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts 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 rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. -Psalm 19:7-11 (ESV)
Finally, reading the word of God in a way that changes your life requires persistence. Frankly, this is the most difficult part. Everyone has great ideas and is motivated to change when they are taking a shower, so-to-speak. Few of those people step out, dry off, and actually do something about it.
If you want to see real change, real growth, and real freedom you have to replace the wrong habits with the right ones. The word of God is one of those good habits that will contribute long term success in the area of purity. We all have the time if we make it, no matter how busy we are. Have a long commute? Listen to a podcast on the way to work. Working multiple jobs? Pack your lunch and use your break during the day to eat and read the Bible. Not a morning person? Carve out the last 30 minutes of your day for the Bible instead of another activity. Think about something in your life that you couldn't wait to see, buy, or experience. Maybe it was a new car, a new movie, a new book, or a new gadget. You made time in your busy schedule to not only go experience whatever that thing was, but continue to invest in it afterwards. We invest in the things we care about. If you care about sexual purity, you'll invest in the word of God.
WIELDING YOUR SWORD
To utilize the sword of the spirit, try the following:
- Memorize Scripture
Get in the word and memorize passages that specifically relate to the temptations that often overtake us.
- Sharpen your Sword
The moment we begin to neglect His written word is the moment we begin to forget it. Make a habit of continually studying the word.
- Keep it Close
It used to be we’d need to take our Bibles with us, but now it’s all built into our cell phones. Take note of specific verses and have them handy in times of temptation. Sometimes simply reading the Word of God is enough.
Day 22 Application
Figuratively speaking, how sharp is your sword?
What role does the sword of the spirit play in our struggle against sexual temptation?
From what you understand, what is the relationship between Jesus and the Word? What benefit is it to us to memorize scripture? Have you been in contact with your accountability partner such that you were asked tough questions about purity?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?