The final piece of armor stands out from all the others. It’s unique because this is the only offensive weapon in the arsenal. Everything else is designed to hold us steady from what the enemy is seeking to bring against us “in the evil day”. But after God outfits us for battle in order to stand firm, He gives us an additional weapon with which we can attack and advance. “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17)
The sword we are told to take is the Greek word macaira, which refers to the shorter sword (gladius) that’s similar to a dagger. The gladius was used for up-close, in-your-face, hand-to-hand combat, and because of it’s size the enemy wouldn’t see it coming. The blades were double-edged and needle sharp at the point, allowing for a greater amount of damage to the heart or mid-section at a quicker rate than a long sword. Paul is telling us to be ready for in-your-face battle of our particular strongholds that Satan will bring as close as possible, often the battle is being waged in us–in our minds, will, emotions and body.
The second thing we are told about this sword is that it doesn’t belong to us or the church, it belongs to the Holy Spirit; a deathblow to our enemy must be used according to God’s prescribed means in the Spirit. We can’t rely on our human resources, methods and philosophies to try to do battle against someone who isn’t human, because when we use man-made methods to up against a spiritual battle, we nullify God’s power in our fight, and lose. Our authority for victory in the spiritual realm is rooted and grounded in God. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19)
“Leaving room” means letting go of our approach to spiritual battles and our need to respond in our emotions. Rather, we are to take God’s approach by aligning our emotions underneath His overarching rule and putting on His full armor–the last of which is the sword of the Spirit. The Lord is omnipotent and does not battle as we would: “the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (1 Sam 17:47). The Lord speaks, and it is so.
The sword we are to take “is the Word of God”. The Greek word graphe referred to in 2 Tim 3:16 for the Word of God is defined as “writings” of God–the Bible. Carrying around the Bible doesn’t bring about the power needed to live a life in victory, it needs to be used.
When we study the Word, we are looking for God’s meaning, and this Greek word is logos. “For the Word [Logos] of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) Logos is a force with energy behind it given to accomplish the goal of dividing what makes up our soul (mind, will and emotions) and what makes up the new spirit God placed within us. It’s used to clarify His truth within us; to discern both our thoughts and the intentions of our heart, so that we can properly align underneath the truth and message of God.
When Paul tells us to “take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”, he uses the Greek rhema, which means the utterance, spoken word, or what has been declared. Graphe is the written word, Logos is the message of the written word, and Rhema is the specific declaration concerning the message of the written word. When we are in battle, we need the specific utterance of God about the situation to take that truth straight into the heart of Satan.
When the Lord spoke the earth into being, it was the Holy Spirit who was positioned waiting on God’s Word: “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gen 1:2-3) His spoken Word (Rhema) had the power within it to accomplish God’s desire, and the Spirit’s dagger that God used to bring things into being.
We know the power of God’s Word, but do we know God’s Word? If not, we can be easily deceived by Satan as Eve was when he questioned God’s Word (Gen 3:1). When he mixes up God’s Word, changes a word here or takes it out of context so that we misinterpret the meaning, Satan has reduced its power to defeat him. So when we give our opinion or feelings about God’s Word, or say “so and so says…”, we are not using the sword of the Spirit and we will be defeated.
Jesus, who is fully man and fully God gave us the example (Matt 4:1-11). Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast for 40 days. He was hungry. Satan didn’t twist Christ’s need, but he attempted to twist the way Jesus went about meeting that need–that’s what he does with us. “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'” (Matt 4:3)
Jesus didn’t approach Satan based on His thoughts; He didn’t enter into a debate or dialog; He overcame Satan with the Word of God. “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”” (Matt 4:4) If the Living Word, Jesus, needed to use the rhema to deal with the enemy, how much more must we rely on the rhema of God? After we put on the rest of the armor of God, we are to use the sword of the Spirit to move forward against the enemy and tell him that he has to get out of our way in God’s authority, using His Word.
Part of the Series: The Authority of Christ (links will be added when they are published, and more may be added to the list as God leads)
- Authority Over Corruption in the World
- Recognize Your Enemy
- Stand Firm in the Authority of Christ
- We Battle From Higher Ground
- Be Strong in the Lord and His Mighty Power
- Put On The Belt of Truth
- Put On The Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shod Your Feet With the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
- Take Up the Shield of Faith
- Take the Helmet of Salvation
- Take the Sword of the Spirit
- Pray At All Times in the Spirit
- Strength Comes From Surrendering
- Overcoming Past Failures