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The Sword of the Spirit

September 7, 2006

The first piece of armor is the belt of truth and the last piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The truth of the Word brackets this whole description of our armor. The Word of God is the beginning and the end of the Christian soldiers preparation for battle with Satan’s temptations to sin.

But I believe there is an important difference between considering the Word as the belt of truth and considering the Word as the sword of the Spirit. The difference is this: A sword is unattached, movable. You draw it out in the heat of battle and use a specific word to refute a specific lie of the devil. But the belt of truth is a permanent, fixed part of your armor. It refers to your being overall grounded in the doctrine of the Scriptures.

As I said when we considered the belt of truth, there are many people who know a few verses and are out there swinging the sword, but they are doing so ungirded, because they are not established in doctrine. They use verses haphazardly, out of context, and so they get out fenced by Satan and their bellies are still exposed to his jabs.

But now today I alert you to the opposite danger. It is generally less common, but it is more common in churches where the importance of theological rigor is emphasized. The danger is this: It is possible to be well girded with the belt of truth, to have a thorough knowledge of systematic theology, and yet be a stranger to the kind of walk in the Spirit that goes to the Word and cries out “God! I need a verse for today! Speak to me today! I need to hear your voice in the pages of your book. Speak or I will be like those who go down to the pit! Give me a promise to cling to while I resist this temptation.”

Never forget that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit.  Beware the danger of a mere scholasticism that treats the Bible as a classroom text to be analyzed and applied by our unaided human intellect.  You need to hear the voice of God in the text every day.  Pray for him to open your eyes and ears as you read or as you listen to a sermon.  Plead with him to speak the word effectually into your heart so that you can embrace it with faith, exult in it with joy, and by it overcome temptation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2006 4:20 pm

    Anything about a .50 cal Sniper Rifle of Glory?

  2. bankruptedbynorm permalink
    September 8, 2006 12:53 pm

    Ha! I tend to stick with rapidly revolving wheels of finely honed carbide (woodworking reference….sorry)

    I don’t know about the other introverted systematic theologs (is that a word, gorfchild?) at CEFC, but the lesser danger is definitely that of my own. It’s so easy to be satisfied with the “puny” head knowledge of the word without letting it overflow to the heart to allow for much greater joy in God. Thanks for the reminder.

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