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Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Sword of the Spirit

Would you like to render an incapacitating blow to the enemy when he tries to attack your mind and life?

In Ephesians 6:17, Paul wrote, “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Paul calls the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit.” 

To understand Paul’s message concerning the sword of the Spirit, we need to know what he meant when he called the Word of God a “sword.” Paul used the Greek word “machaira,” the same word used to describe the type of sword a Roman soldier used in battle.

The Roman soldier continually trained for war. He practiced with his sword every day, striking a tall wooden post firmly fixed in the ground. This post became the soldier’s enemy during practice. He practiced by hitting certain places on the post lined up with his opponent's vulnerable areas. The purpose of sword practice was to learn how to take advantage of his enemy, hit him in his weakest area, and disable him. He was taught not to cut his enemy but to thrust with his sword. A stroke with a sword’s edge, even made with much strength, would rarely kill someone. A powerful, forthright stab was usually lethal even though it might pierce his opponent only a few inches. 

Paul had this in mind when he wrote, “And take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” 

The Greek word for “word” in Ephesians 6:17 is “rhema,” which refers to an utterance or a spoken word by God. To have a sword that penetrates a blow to the enemy, we need a specific, quickened word from the Word of God engrained in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we speak the word the Holy Spirit has given us, we wield God’s power to render the enemy a debilitating blow.

Just as a Roman soldier only needed a well-placed wound to eliminate his enemy, a well-placed quickened word from the Lord has the power to eliminate Satan’s attack. 

The best example of the power of the Word of God—the sword of the Spirit— is found in Luke 4:3-13. When Jesus went into the wilderness, Satan continually and aggressively attacked him. Each time, Jesus answered Satan’s attack with a Word from the Holy Spirit. 

After Satan tempted him with food, Jesus drew out the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and rebuked him: 

“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:4). 

Satan did not respond to Jesus’ spoken Word—the sword of the Spirit.

When Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world in trade for worship, Jesus wounded him again with another Word.  He said: 

“For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Luke 4:8). 


Satan again had no answer to the sword of the Spirit.


When Satan tempted Jesus to prove His deity, Jesus answered him again with another Word by the Spirit.  He said: 

It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (Luke 4:12).


This time Jesus pierced Satan with a devastating blow. Jesus had replied two times to the devil with a specifically targeted Word. Still, this third time the devil finally gave up and “departed” (Luke 4:13). Satan was rendered powerless in the wilderness by the powerful words Jesus used like a spiritual sword against him.

When the Holy Spirit quickens a specific Scripture to you, and you use it against the enemy, the enemy will eventually “depart” from you. He has no comeback to God’s Word so he cannot engage you in further conflict. The Word of God is the supernatural sword of the Spirit that renders the devil powerless. 

Open your heart continually, and let the Holy Spirit reveal the Scriptures you need to withstand the devil’s attacks and force his departure. With those Scriptures in your heart and mouth, you have God’s spiritual sword to render your enemy helpless. The enemy will come at you again at some point. But if you pierce him with God’s Word spoken out of the abundance of your heart, you will be able to render him helpless again. When you submit yourself to God, you resist the devil, and he flees from you.

The Holy Spirit was sent to guide you into all truth. A Word from God that speaks directly and quickly to your heart is a deep inner assurance and witness of the Spirit. Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and His Word will be opened to you.


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