and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . . Ephesians 6:17, ESV
Of all of the pieces of the armor of God that Paul describes, there can be little doubt that this is the most well-known: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” I remember, as a child, competing in Sword Drills where we would see who was the quickest at finding verses in our drill Bibles and who could recite the most verses from memory. I also remember that I did not often, if ever, win.
There is a good reason that the church has focused so much attention on this piece of the armor. The sword has a dual purpose. Not only can it be used defensively to fend off the blows of the enemy, but it can also be used offensively to send the enemy running. As the only piece of armor with an offensive use, the church must make ample use of it as she carries out her mission.
As we fulfill our commission to “make disciples” of Jesus, we go armed with the Word of God. This is the Word that the Spirit of God inspired. It is the Word the same Spirit will use to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). The enemy is turned to flight as sinners hear of their sin and, in repentance, turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation. If nothing else is true of our age, this is: it is time for us to unsheathe our sword and put it to use!
May God grant you sword-wielding opportunities today and the courage to wield it! I am praying for you toward that end.