“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” KJV
So far Paul the apostle has been mostly telling us about using the armor of God to protect ourselves from attacks by our enemy, the devil. Now we begin to move from the defensive aspects of warfare to the offensive. As Christians we live in a world that is dominated by forces that are hostile to our faith. It can be easy to forget that Jesus sent His apostles out into that very same world with an agressive message to proclaim and teach to all nations.
Resistance to the Good News of Jesus has its source in a powerful adversary who hates all of humanity as much as God loves it. But we have even more power than him through Christ! (1 John 4:4)
2 Corinthians 10:4:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds…” AMP
These strongholds are thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, that hold their captives in chains of fear, deception, hatred, jealousy, witchcraft, and unholy desires that destroy themselves and others.
2 Corinthians 10:5:
“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one),” AMP
The apostles of Christ placed a high value and even took great pride in their belonging to Christ. Captivity to Him is indeed true freedom! They saw the first order of business as winning the battle over their own thoughts before reaching out to others. As Jesus taught, we must remove the plank from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.
A most powerful example of using the Sword of the Spirit is found in the life of Jesus. After His baptism by John in the Jordan River, the Spirit of God descended on Him as a dove, and a Voice from heaven came saying, “You are my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Before that time, we have no record in the Gospels of Him doing any great works. Now He is anointed to go forth with the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
But before He faced the evils in the world around Him, He had a personal battle to win. It was common for people back then to enter into a fast, that is deny themselves food, when looking for spiritual guidance and strength. Jesus committed Himself to 40 days of isolation, during which His position as The Son of God was to be challenged.
By tempting His physical body and humanity, the devil tried to prove that Jesus was not in fact the Son of God. In each case Jesus forcefully wielded the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. While the devil knew the Scriptures, and attenpted to trick Jesus by twisting their meaning, Jesus held forth the Word of God in its purity when He told him, “It is written.” It is not enough to know the Scriptures. One must know the Scriptures AND the One Who is speaking through them!
Paul writes in another place:
“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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)KJV
Peter put it this way:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) NKJV
Satan had his private interpretation of the Scripture, but Jesus had the power of the Holy Spirit within and upon Him! The Spirit and the Word always agree! The scriptures as they had them back then, and as we have them today were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If I am wrong about this, then Jesus, and the apostles, and every body of believers from ancient times to this day were also wrong! But don’t take my word for it, repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38) THEN you will know for yourself what I am talking about!
When you find other Spirit-filled believers who can teach you how to use the Sword of the Spirit, you can also prove for yourself how victorious a person can live because of Jesus!
This cannot be overemphasized in today’s culture. When any believer takes the time to prayerfully read the Bible, and listen to godly teachers of the Bible, God the Holy Spirit will participate in this. He will speak to you through the Scriptures! And if you hear words in your head or have thoughts come to your mind that might be God, you can come to know by experience how to discern them. God can and does speak to His people today in dreams and various signs, but He has given us the Scriptures to test all things.
Jesus came out of the wilderness in full power of the Spirit, having proven His sonship by resisting every temptation. Likewise, God wants to empower us beyond personal defense, so we can follow Jesus has He reaches out to release others from captivity.