The Sword of the Spirit
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 6:10-20, Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 119:1-8, 57-74, 121-128, 137-144, Matthew 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Swords were carried on the right side of a soldier, hanging either from his belt or a specially designed strap. The only offensive weapon of this armor, the sword also served as a warning to the enemy when waved in the air. This piece of armor is the Word of God, and in order to be most effective, it must be used through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The other day, I was counseling one of my daughters out of the sadness that comes when we are faced with our sin. She knew she messed up. She confessed. And still, she was devastated. She couldn’t stop crying and didn’t want to talk about it or do anything but feel the pain of her mistake.
Have you ever reacted that way to sin? Witnessing it in my child reminded me of what I used to do when I failed. When I was a new Christian, still not understanding that my own goodness wouldn’t get me anywhere, I would do the exact same thing.
I would cry and hide and run from the forgiveness God wanted to give me. Reading God’s Word made me feel guilty and exposed, not comforted or joyful. I didn’t feel capable of “seek[ing] Him with all [my] heart” (Psalm 119:2) because I thought seeking Him would remind me of what a screw-up I was.
I would see verses like Psalm 119:71, and I would think, No thank you! Affliction sounds terrible. I just want to be good already!
But God’s Spirit helped me see, through His Word and people who had studied it longer than I had, that His goodness is the goodness I can cling to and count on. That His Word is a gift, even when it reminds me of how I fall short, especially when it reminds me of how I fall short.
The afflictions God allows into our lives, even the ones we cause, in our sin, are made beautiful in light of His forgiveness, in light of His closeness. God’s Word reminds us that we’re not the good ones. God’s Word tells our hearts we’re so loved by the good One! We are already at peace with Him, in Jesus Christ, so we can have peace right now and forever!
I told my daughter some form of this the other day. I encouraged her to walk away from ruminating and regretting, and to focus on the forgiveness and grace that comes when we repent in hope and step into the light instead. It’s then that we learn to love His statutes and delight in His commands. It’s then we experience beautiful satisfaction on the other side of affliction.