Sword of the Spirit

…….and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.

Wayne_David battle

OK, having boys I have seen every superhero move there is. You know when boys put on the superhero costume they become the hero, complete with the moves. Boys enter the room with swords stealthily poised or moving in every direction at lightening speed.They don’t hit anything, but they look good doing it. Their intent is right. They are protecting the damsel, the mom, from the enemy at the door or around the corner.

Do you look good but hit nothing? Are you toiling all night and catching nothing or are you speaking the Word of God.   …”nevertheless at thy word, I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5.

The word is the spoken word. It was first mentioned in Matthew 12:36, when Jesus tells Satan that man “does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is the same word that Peter mentions here.

Sometimes I am as Peter, toiling away without results. Sometimes I am like my little men, dressed and wielding my sword everywhere and hitting nothing.The battle rages on. Why?  Could it be that I am not relying on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do the wielding? The Holy Spirit not only knows where and who the enemy is, but also what weapon to use. It is when I allow the Holy Spirit to wield my sword that things happen. Suddenly we remember to pray for someone, Now! Suddenly we are reminded of a scripture that gives us the strength and joy that we need, Now!  Is it us? No, it’s the Holy Spirit doing the wielding.

There are stories of soldiers gripping their swords so long and tight that they could not let go. There have been times I have felt like that soldier. When all I had left was the Word of God. Praise God!  the Holy Spirit was there to tell me where to wield my sword.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

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What is your story when you gripped your sword and could not let go? 

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Shield of Faith

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”Ephesians 6:16

Did your mom ever tell you, “Where do you think you live? In a barn? Close the door.” Maybe it is a southern thing. With boys, we are always telling them to close the door as they go dashing from entrance and out the next. Ok, I admit I have been known to open the backdoor to let the wonderful  breeze in and the air conditioning may be on! Doors are made to keep things out like bugs, cold air, bad guys. They also keep things in, like children and air conditioning. Some of you may want to keep your children out! What mother hasn’t cherished the few minutes you had of peace and quiet before they were banging on the bathroom door!

Our shield of faith is like a door, it keeps bad things out and protects the good things, like our entire self.

This scripture is the only time this word for shield is used, ‘thyreos’. Paul wanted us to know that the shield of faith was a specific type of shield. It is no wimpy shield. It is square and oblong, door shaped covering our entire self. It is the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God. It involves trust. Soldiers trusted that the shield would keep out the fiery missiles thrown at them. As we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His word, we can trust that the evil, malicious, and wicked fiery darts will be extinguished. No weapon formed against us will prosper.(Isaiah 54:17)

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Are you opening your door to maliciousness and evil that causes pain and trouble?

Stand therefore…

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14

Ever watch a tennis match? My son plays tennis. We enrolled both our boys in tennis lessons when they were little tikes and could barely hold a racket. Every coach they ever had talks about the importance of the stance. What is the stance? It is how you hold the racket and how you stand when you are waiting for the ball. The player stands with feet apart, both hands on the racquet (so can hit forehand or backhand as needed), and eyes on the opponent. In other words, your head is in the game. Why is this important? Because the milliseconds it takes for you to get into position to hit the ball square with the racquet could mean you slicing the ball, missing the ball completely, or even being hit by the ball. Ouch!!

Just like a tennis match, we are to ‘stand’. The word stand, ‘histemi‘, is a verb meaning to stand ready or prepared, stand with a steadfast mind, stand as one who does not hesitate, stand as one who does not waiver.

What does your stance look like?

Are you girded about with the truth of God’s word? Do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? To a soldier, a breastplate protects your vital organs, the heart and lungs and major arteries. Without the breastplate a blow can be fatal.

Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. It is the state in which we ought to be. It involves integrity, purity of life, virtue, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting. Notice how much of this definition involves the heart.

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”. 2 Corinthians 5:21

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What does your breastplate look like? Is it the breastplate of righteousness?

(photo selected: by FreePik/Dan Mirica <a href=”http://www.freepik.com”>Selected by freepik</a>)

Know Truth

Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” Ephesians 6:14

” Mom, Ellen keeps saying my name is Nathaniel and I keep telling her that it isn’t!  I AM NATHAN!” Oh the woes of us parents who shorten our children’s names and forget to tell them. Nathan only saw the partial truth. He is Nathan, but he is also Nathaniel. Are we like Nathan, knowing only a portion of who we are? Do we really know what our full name is? Or are we walking around with only half of ourselves, fighting a battle without knowing the full truth of ourselves?

Truth is part of the Full Armor of God. It is to protect our ‘loins’. Loins is the area around our hips. It is where the reproductive organs of our bodies are. Are you reproducing the truth of Jesus in your life?

“And you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.” John 8:32

Freedom
Freedom

The word ‘make’ comes from the verb “eleutheroo’. It means to set free from the chains of sin. That word is only used 12 times in 7 verses of the New Testament and every time it is in relation to setting free from the chains of sin and death.

God’s truth of the gospel brings freedom from sin that entangles our everyday lives; freedom from bitterness that grips our hearts and souls; freedom from hate that blinds us to love others; freedom from depression that says that we are worthless; freedom from sorrow that invades our very core; freedom from shame that binds our thinking; freedom from false view of ourselves as we start to see ourselves as God sees us— full of joy, full of peace, full of hope, whole, forgiven, strong in Jesus Christ.( I John 3:2)

Are you standing firm on the truth of who you are as a child of God, bought with the blood of Jesus Christ? Are you ‘Nathan’ or ‘Nathaniel’ (God’s gift)? Or are you trying to stand on half truths of who you really are?

“It is for freedom that Christ set (made) us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

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Challenge– Take God’s word and let that be your prayer, your truth. Then stand back and see what is reproduced in the situation.

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Be Strong in the Lord

 

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Be Strong in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

Have you ever played paintball? With teenage boys, it is inevitable. My son had a paintball birthday party. The place advertised, “Mom’s Play Free”, which translates “Mom’s put a target on your chest, You are Going Down!”  Moms watch out, the kids will form ‘unholy alliances’ against the mom. Why? Because  boys know what you might not know. Paintball is as much about the relationships, or alliances, as about the battle.

What kind of alliances do you have?

Relationships and spiritual battles are connected.  Have you ever noticed that the scriptures in Ephesians 6 which talk about the Armor of God and waging battle follow instructions regarding relationships? (Ephesians 6:1-9) . Relationships cause friction but our battle is not with the person.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Ephesians 6:10

“Strong” in Ephesians 6:10 is used three times:

  • Strong-v. “endynamoo” which means to be enabled, to receive strength It means that our strength is not from us, but from the God who made the heavens and the earth. The God who made us, who knows us better than anyone will empower, strengthen, enable us for the battle. He is the Commander in Chief of the battle and not us. Praise God!
  • Strength– n. “kratos” which means ‘mighty deed’, and ‘a work of power’. The word comes from vigor. Not only is God giving us the strength and invigorating us for the battle, but His deeds are powerful to accomplish all that He wants us to.
  • Might-n. “ischys” which means ‘ability’, ‘force’, ‘strength’. We may not have the ability, but God does.

The word ‘in’ can also be translated ‘with’. It is a preposition. Remember your grammar, a preposition links two things together.  We are to be linked or interwoven with God’s power, strength, mighty deeds, ability, force to have the healthy relationships that God intended. When we are in an alliance with God then we can  withstand and overcome the battles.

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Was there a time when God gave you the ability to see the true battle in a relationship? With God’s wisdom, and power, how was the situation turned around?