We cannot live victoriously in spiritual warfare without an authoritative Word from our supreme commander. Our supreme commander is Jesus, and all of our authority comes from Him. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word [Jesus, the Son of God] was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5) [emphasis added]
Kingdom Authority and the authority of the Word of God are inextricably interwoven. It stands to reason that we cannot live in powerful and conquering confidence without a sure Word from God. Five things come to my mind in this statement.
First, we must believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word. The Bible is the Word of God. It was inspired by Him through the Holy Spirit, but written through human agents. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17) John Wesley said, “If there be any mistakes in the Bible there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book it did not come from the God of truth.”
Second, we must read and study God’s Word. As we read the pages of biblical history, we see that whether we are talking about one-on-one relationships or societies, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9). And while mankind as a whole continues to seek love and satisfaction in all of the wrong places, God—our good and gracious Creator—tells us what will bring us lasting joy. His revealed Word, the Bible, is so important that Jesus said of it, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). In other words, if we want to live life to the fullest, as God intended, we must listen to and heed God’s written Word.
Third, we must act upon God’s Word as given to us by the Holy Spirit. The Bible equips us to serve God (Heb 4:12). It helps us know how to be saved from our sin and its ultimate consequence (2 Tim 3:15). Meditating on God’s Word and obeying its teachings will bring success in life. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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) God’s Word helps us see sin in our lives and and repent from it. “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Ps 119:11)
Fourth, we must listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit. One of the most important ways to recognize the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to be familiar with God’s Word. The Bible is the ultimate source of wisdom about how we should live (2 Tim 3:16), and believers are to search the Scriptures, meditate on them, and commit them to memory. The Spirit will use God’s Word to speak to us to reveal God’s will for our lives. “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14) And we can’t be only hearers of the Word, but we must act on what we are told in faith. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25)
When we know the truth of God’s Word, listen and submit to the authority of the Holy Spirit as He applies God’s truth to our lives, submit to the inerrant Word we receive (James 1:21) and do what it says, then we can stand “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” while we “put on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:10-11). Just this morning, I used God’s Word to Him in prayer, making intercessory for my friend (who was awaiting chemo while running a slight fever with a low BP), as she was directed by the Lord. I asked for His will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, and that He remove all those who stand in her way to receiving the chemo. The enemy was putting up obstacles, and we called on the Lord to remove them. And He did; she’s currently receiving her chemo.
And finally, we must use God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, in battle to stand firm against the enemy. The Word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17). The indwelling Holy Spirit will bring specific Scriptures to mind at times when we need them most (John 14:26). In these times, we will be able to wield the sword as Jesus did, by saying “it is written”, and then using God’s Word. The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. It is most effective when wielded in prayer to our Lord.
Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him, and soldiers needed rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit. Since every Christian is in the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will also be an offensive weapon we use to “demolish strongholds” of error and falsehood (2 Cor 10:4–5).
The purpose of the sword of the Spirit—God’s Word—is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan, our enemy (Ps 119:11, 33–40, 99–105). The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give us spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the Word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.