Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (May 1, 2023)

*I apologize for not posting last week; I have been traveling a lot lately, and was not able to get it done last Monday.

We have been looking at the items of spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6. We are now considering the first weapon that we have: the sword of the Spirit. We don’t have to wonder what this sixth item of armor, the “sword of the Spirit,” is: this passage tells us plainly that it is “the word of God.” The reference here is to the written word, the Scriptures that have been divinely inspired and preserved for us. These Scriptures are a powerful tool that is too often neglected by the Christian soldier.

This sword of the Spirit is absolutely essential for the warfare that we face! The comparison here is to the short sword of the Roman legionnaire which was designed primarily for hand to hand combat. It was held constantly at the soldier’s side for immediate use when necessary! The sword of the Spirit – the word of God – is like this short Roman sword! It should be held close to our side on a daily basis so that we can use it whenever the attacks of Satan come upon us.

We often say that this sword is the only “offensive” weapon, but in truth its purpose is both offensive and defensive. There are many assaults of Satan in this warfare, and we need the sword of the Spirit to parry his thrusts! For example, the sword of the Spirit can parry the attack of temptation: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Ps. 119:11. It can parry the attack of affliction: This is my comfort in my affliction:  for thy word hath quickened me. Ps. 119:50. It can parry the attack of depression: My soul fainteth for thy salvation:  but I hope in thy word. Ps. 119:81.

This sword of the Spirit also has an offensive purpose. With this sword, we sometimes must go on the offensive to repel the devil. James tells us to “[r]esist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. To “resist” means to set oneself against, or to stand against. It is an action verb, meaning we must take action to resist Satan! Occasionally, we must go on the offensive to win back ground that we may have lost through lapses in our daily devotion to Christ. The Psalmist declares, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Ps. 119:9. Furthermore, we are encouraged that the word of God “is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Ps. 105:105.

There is  no question that the Bible is our most powerful weapon in our daily battles. And yet so many of God’s children don’t know what they have! Sadly, instead of cleaving to their sword, many of God’s children have laid down their weapon in the midst of the battle! We make many excuses for dropping our sword. Often we say, “I can’t find the time.” But the truth is, we never will “find” the time:  we have to MAKE time! Think about how much time we spend texting, or watching TV; we can stream a marathon of Yellowstone but can’t spend an hour in reading the word! It has been estimated that you can read through the entire bible in 74 hours and 28 minutes. That’s 25 minutes per day to complete it in 6 months; 12 minutes per day to complete it in 1 year; 6 minutes per day to complete it in 2 years! And yet, more often than not, we neglect this spiritual weapon.

Sometimes we are simply exhausted in the battle. But even when you are tired and worn out, DON’T DROP YOUR SWORD!  Jesus Himself clave to the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Can you imagine the physical condition He was in after 40 days of fasting ? Yet it was in that weary condition that the devil himself came and tempted Jesus three times! And as weary as He was, He did NOT let go of the sword of the Spirit – three times He unsheathed it and answered the devil’s temptations and lies with the word of God. Every temptation was defeated and the evil one lay slain at His feet because Jesus took the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and used it against the enemy. In His weariness He didn’t drop that sword – He clave unto it!

My dear friends, let the sword of the Spirit cleave to your hand; use it, study it, cling to it – it will deliver you in the weariness of battle!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor