(Wielding the Sword of the Spirit)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. – Ephesians 6:10-11
You read and study the Bible in good times so that you have the verses stored up and ready “in you” when the bad (hard, trying) times come. Furthermore, you may not always have a Bible handy, especially at a critical time of trial or tribulation.
The Word is described as the “Sword of the Spirit,” and it is part of the “Armor of God” that you need to “put on” as a Christian to fend of the attacks and “fiery darts” of the enemy (led by Satan). See the Armor of God chapter for more information. Never forget that we are in the middle of a war – a raging spiritual war. And, as a born-again Christian, you are now on the front lines of the battle. The enemy (Satan and his forces of darkness and evil) will attack you as often as they can. The attacks are especially timed to occur when a) you might be feeling weak, anxious, tired or doubtful about something, b) right before you are about to do a good work for the Lord, and c) also right after you just did a good work for the Lord and are feeling particularly close to Him. The enemy hates that.
Jesus said that “those who take up [live by] the sword shall perish [die] by the sword.” While this is true in a literal sense (which is how it was used by Jesus on that occasion), it is also symbolic since the Word of God is described as the “Sword of the Spirit,” which is “sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit.” For it is by (and in) the Word of God that one finds life; and it is also this very same Word which will condemn sinners on Judgment Day. The Word cuts both ways. It is also this sword, the Word of God, by which a Christian fights battles of the spiritual war. And to be prepared for battle (which can happen any time), you must have the Sword of the Spirit already in your mind, memorized, and ready to use at a moment’s notice. You do not know when the forces of evil will attack, and they will always try to do so when you are off guard and unprepared.
It’s a sad fact that many Christians today are badly outclassed, outgunned, outmanned, outstudied and outmatched by Satan, who knows Scripture more than they do. Notice also that the Sword of the Spirit is your only offensive weapon which you have to confront the spiritual forces of evil! It is written that the Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword,” but that’s only true if you actually know it and have it memorized well enough to be able to use it. Brother or sister in Christ, I ask you: Is your sword a polished sharp two-edged sword worthy of battle or a tarnished dull kitchen butter knife?
You will be attacked spiritually, and you will need to use the Word to repel those attacks. One time I was under a ferocious spiritual attack that just wouldn’t stop. The “fiery darts” of the enemy (Satan) just kept attacking me. These “fiery darts” are thoughts you get which genuinely appear to be your own thoughts, and in nearly all cases, they are blasphemous and stir up doubt or fear in your mind about God. This is the enemy trying to turn you back or turn you away from some good work you are about to do. This particular attack was so ferocious it lasted for over an hour, and I just couldn’t make the “blasphemous thoughts” stop. It was then that Matthew 4:4 came to my mind. I confess that I hadn’t really meant to memorize that verse prior to that point, but apparently, I had read it often enough that I was therefore able to recall it. When I used that verse against the attack, it stopped immediately. I’ve found that particular verse to be one of the most powerful verses in the entire bible, especially for me whenever there is a spiritual attack. Another one is: “Satan, get behind me.” You will notice that both verses were used by Jesus in a similar fashion.
And lastly, you need the Word memorized so you can help, correct, admonish, and encourage other brothers and sisters in Christ. I must call attention here to the fact that you are using a “two-edged” sword: so, beware that it cuts both ways, in that whatever Scripture you wield at others (in admonishing them), often cuts right back at you! Whenever I am about to admonish anyone using Scripture, I first try to determine how I am also convicted by that very same verse and make sure I’m not guilty of the same thing. I’ve found this to be very helpful in finding my own sinful behavior/heart, or the “plank [log] in my own eye” (Matthew 7:1-3).
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
For the word 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. – Hebrews 4:12
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night. – Psalm 1:1-2
My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart. – Proverbs 6:20-21
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows [fiery darts] of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” – Matthew 16:23
“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 success.”– Joshua 1:8
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. – Philippians 4:1
…for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. – 1 Thessalonians 3:8
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:1-3