Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
When Laura and I first moved to Albuquerque, we had never lived in a place where it snowed. It just so happened that the year we moved here had a lot of snow. Our kids looked at the white puffy snow outside, and they wanted to play. We took the next thirty minutes to bundle them up to ensure they were completely protected. Sam was only about one-year-old during that time, so we went a little overboard on the protection. We put him in so many layers that he could barely walk, much less actually play in the snow. By the time we had him fully dressed and ready to go, much of the snow in our backyard had already melted.
Sometimes, we put so much emphasis on protection and defense from outside elements that we miss that God wants us to take ground from the enemy. He gave us all these defense tactics to deter and resist the enemy with the Armor of God. God also included a powerful offensive weapon in the armor. God didn't want us to sit like a bundled-up child with no ability to stand for ourselves. Rather, He gave us the sword of the Spirit so we could live a life of purpose and meaning. God didn't want us to hunker down, waiting for what attack might be coming around the corner. Instead, He sent us out on a mission to make Christ known and to enjoy this world all around us.
This is why Paul finishes his thoughts on the armor of God by adding on the only offensive weapon in the ensemble: the sword of the Spirit. He clarifies that our weapon of warfare is found in the Bible itself. We hold in our hands the very word of God, spoken through the Holy Spirit. "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:20-21) It was breathed into the original writers, as we learn from Paul, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..." (2 Timothy 3:16) When we hold tightly to the Bible, knowing our Scriptures, reading them daily, and committing them to memory, they give us the power to take ground from the enemy.
We take ground by seeing through the enemy's lies. We don't get sucked into the wicked culture that is around us, but instead we push forward, holding on to the truth. We advance through knowing the truth and living it out daily through a life of meaning and purpose. We move forward through taking on the mission of sharing Jesus with this lost world. For many of us, it is time to stop being in a defensive or protective mode. It is time for us to advance!
Think about whether you have been more in a protective or defensive mode spiritually. Have you put yourself out into the world, or have you isolated yourself from other people? Do you have people who don't know Jesus Christ in your circle so you can be a light? Do you make the most of your opportunities to share Jesus with others? It may be time for you to take up the sword of the Spirit and move on the offense.
Read Ephesians 5:8-20 (NLT)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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