THE GIFT OF WEAPONRY, THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
There is an interesting story of the great evangelist and reformer Martin Luther, who founded the Lutheran and Protestant faiths. Reportedly, a stain was on the floor in his study at Wartburg Castle. When giving tours, the docent would remark that the stain occurred when Luther threw his ink bottle at the devil. In his later years, the enemy hounded Luther, and he had seasons of depression and mood swings, which he called ‘evil spirits.’
In The Seal and Pledge of the Holy Spirit, Brian Allison writes:
The devil sought to discourage Luther, by making him feel guilty, through rehearsing a list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red pen write over that list, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.’ The devil had nothing to say.
Luther threw ink at the enemy. It was his way of tangibly saying the Word of God is stronger!
Perhaps it is easy to suggest that in Luther’s defense against the enemy, he was strongly influenced by Jesus. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, when the enemy tempted Jesus, our Savior was victorious because He threw words of scripture, the words of truth, back at the devil.
Today’s gift is the only offensive weapon in the full armor. Please see the significance of that.
“… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, NIV).
Look at how Jesus used this weapon. He is tired. He is hungry. He has been fasting for 40 days.
“The devil came to Jesus to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.” Jesus answered: “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by everything God says.’” (Matthew 4:3-4, NCV).
Jesus is actually quoting Moses here:
“Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you, because he wanted to know what was in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands. He took away your pride when he let you get hungry, and then he fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever seen. This was to teach you that a person does not live on bread alone, but by everything the Lord says.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, NCV).
Two additional times when the enemy tempts Jesus, the Master uses the Word of God as an offensive weapon to defeat the devil. So, if the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, worked for Jesus, it would certainly work for you and me! Did Jesus have his Torah handy or the YouVersion Bible app in his pocket? No, it was written on His heart. He had memorized scripture. This should give us all great motivation to learn scripture so that we can be judiciously on the offense when attacked by the enemy.
Do you know that even today, most Jewish boys and girls have memorized the Torah — the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — by the time they are 12 years old?! Twelve! Maybe scripture memory would be a great new goal for next year. You don’t have to memorize the Torah, but some key scriptures would be ideal. What if you tried to memorize one each month or one each week? There are many great online tools and traditional type cards that can help.
So pick up your sword, your Bible. Don’t just memorize it, but meditate on the Word. Make it a part of who you are. Write it on your heart. Be ready to use this gift and be on the offensive. In that way, you’ll defeat the father of lies and encourage others with the love of God at its core.
Father God, thank you for this gift, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. May I write your Word on my heart. Help me use this gift to defeat the enemy and to build up and encourage my friends and family. May I find the Bible a delightful source of personal strength, love, wisdom, grace, and joy! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.