As I journey towards my 2018 resolutions, I’ve been increasingly reminded of last year’s renditions…
- Lose 3-5 more pounds…check. ✓
- Talk more with extended family…check. ✓
- Use social media less…check. ✓
- Engage co-workers more…check. ✓
- Read the Bible in a year…
…well, turns out I’ll need a few more months.
But that’s not the point.
The point is as I’ve pursued these quests, the drive to fine-tune the details within them has surged1 (more on this in a future post). Still, with the one goal outstanding, I believe it’s worth discussing how we, as Spirit and Truth believers, are to mature in our sword handling.
For as Paul explains in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Word of God is from the Holy Spirit and since every Christian is in a spiritual battle with the evil in this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly.
Granted, much can be said about how we train offensively and defensively; for now, let’s narrow our focus on three practical ways we can sharpen our swords in 2018…
1. Know the Word
As one who’s never housed a protective firearm, it’s difficult relating to lethal proximity. Assuming I carried one, I imagine I’d be satisfied simply owning it early on.
But imagine I purchase a gun, hide it somewhere safe…and a week later an intruder invades. How would I respond?
Would my action not be dependent on preparation (i.e. how I studied the manual, familiarized myself with the handle, etc.), innate awareness, and calculated risk (i.e. what’s the quickest, most secure way out of the situation)? In what would be most beneficial to my family?
Unfortunately, when it comes to spiritual warfare, we often approach our swords of the Spirit like hypothetical ‘me’ with a gun. We know the Spirit lives in us, we know what the Spirit is capable of…yet are easily content in feeling secure within a covering we don’t know how to defend.
As Hebrews 4:12 states: God’s Word is His living, active, double-edged sword designed to illuminate our hearts and protect them from the enemy. The fact God would provide a penetrable weapon to reach the core of our hearts while destroying those with evil intent only confirms 2 Peter 1:3 (“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”).
Therefore, if we want our swords to be effective offensive and defensive weapons, it’s critical we take them to the master whetstone that is Scripture.
Now I know this may sound confusing given Paul equates Word to sword whereas Hebrews associates through metaphor. Yet, if we apply John 1 to Ephesians 6 and accept the circular reference, we can better understand how a) our sword as armor is designed to be refined by sword as Scripture2 and b) the more we discover God and His ways, the better we’ll combat temptation and satanic schemes.
2. Grow the Word
As mentioned, sharpening our swords requires the ultimate whetstone (i.e. the Word); however, if we want them to be maximally sharp, we must grow understanding in what it inspires.
Far too often, we cap our readership to God’s Word and pleasure material. We read our daily Scriptures, spend our fifteen minutes with God, only to fill our leisure with hobbies and extra-curricular pursuits. Yet, while rest certainly has its place, if we use it to shield ourselves from the divine inspiration in others…are we not lending God a partial ear?
For instance, my passion is to create content, but I know if I want to improve this skill while growing closer to God, I must invest time in revelations apart from my own. After all, if I forsake the inspired word given to a brother/sister in Christ, I not only risk limiting my understand of certain truth, but also locking God’s word in distraction rather than hiding His word for action.
Think of it this way…
…to read God’s Word is to exercise our spirit by truth; to discover God’s Word in authorized works is to exercise truth by His Spirit.
Yes, it’s true only the Scriptures are breathed out by God; however, if our aim is to be more like Christ, we must embrace how God is inspiring others through them.
3. Show the Word
Imagine if I told my wife, “I love you. I may not show it, but I want you to know it.”
That’s crazy, right?
Clearly, my love for her should be tangible, the evidence of promise as opposed to some platonic aphorism.
Of course, my wife knows I love her based on what I regularly sow; however, when it comes to living the Word, we must remember our mindset should be the same.
For as great as studying the Word and its inspiration is, it’s meaningless if our actions contrast our beliefs.
James 1:22: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Romans 2:13: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”
‘Cause truth is: we weren’t made to just read and believe, but lead and achieve so others can discover their Lover. That’s why you and me are here.
As for our swords, we weren’t made to simply know what can be done with them; rather we were made to use them for the sake of sharpening them time and time again.
Like light at the top of the hill, our swords must reflect a life on the frontlines…a life that reflects Jesus yet also allows iron to sharpen iron. Only then can we, by the Spirit’s power, use the Word to save souls and nourish them with spiritual strength.
- For instance, don’t just lose 3-5 pounds; lose 3-5 net pounds with 1-2 more upper body muscle pounds factored in
- In shorter words, the sword is what refines it (i.e. the Word)
Cover photo creds: kevron2001 – Deviant Art