The Armor of God Series – The Sword of the Spirit
Posted by: Brittney Zellner
A person I admire greatly reminded me recently during a chat about Ephesians 6 that swords don’t start as swords. In fact, most armor does not start at all the way we envision the final product. Swords, in particular, represent truth and the word of God. Our ability to use the truth correctly is reflected in the knowledge and understanding we have of it that can be utilized for the purposes of God’s will and the glory of his kingdom.
When I was a kid I thought the bible itself when picked up was like picking up a fully made, beautiful shining sword. You may have to practice how to use it a little bit but it was still already a powerful weapon. It was not until recently that I began to see that maybe what I imagined is not fully the case. Using the sword does indeed take incredible practice but in order to fully understand how to use a sword, one must fully understand the process of creating it and its purpose. You may be able to practice with a sword and become quite efficient but you will never truly appreciate that sword until you have learned how and why it is crafted.
The Sword’s Purpose
The purpose of the soldier is to be commanded, to be fought and to fight. Who you fight shows who and what you are loyal to but it can be said that a soldier is only as strong as his leader, his armor and his weapons. The purpose of armor is purely defensive. Every part of the armor is designed to prevent your life from leaving you during an attack. It is designed to allow you to stand your ground and to prevent you from falling back. The sword, however, is offensive. With a sword, you can move forward. With a sword you can take the opposition’s life and carry out a moving purpose. You would be hard-pressed to capture anything with armor alone. You can only maintain a position until the opposition finds a kink or a weakness in which to exploit. Without a sword, it is only a matter of time before weakness is found or created and your life is at stake.
Much in the same way, the armor of Yah is created in a process in which to keep us alive and serve out his purpose. If we have all the benefits of the armor and no sword to move us forward we are a dead stick. If you want to move forward, you must have the word. You must know how to use the word. But can you just pick one up and practice, or should you start at the beginning? Should you be satisfied at only its existence to show your devotion or should you follow its creation process to appreciate and admire the depths of it? Anyone who has ever sweat and bled for something they love might agree that if you want to show your loyalty and devotion to something, endurance through the most uncomfortable situations will give you the highest level of appreciation and prove your loyalty more than anything else.
Creating the Sword
Swords don’t start as swords. Swords start as dull chunks of metal rocks that need to be shaped over high heat and sharpened. Rocks symbolize something established. They represent strength and permanence. We create and mold our spiritual swords by ingesting the word, which is a rock. The heat of our passion for him makes the word red hot and pliable enough for us to go back to it over and over until it is just the right shape. After the passion has died down a little, our knowledge and understanding is sharpened by others who challenge our thinking and conclusions. This creates more heat and pressure until our swords are sharp and lethal to the enemy. We cannot properly utilize our swords to fight against the enemy without them being sharp. We can make a dent and somewhat make use of a dull sword but until they are sharp they will not be proficient at dividing truth and giving Yah the glory he deserves.
Black smiths understand the science of a sword better than someone who simply trains to use one. The sword as a weapon is most appreciated by the smith because it was the smith that applied the sweat and blood to pound every inch of its shape. Metal workers also understand that different metals have different strengths and that different styles of swords serve different fighting functions. The grip and weight of a sword are also important in order for it’s user to fully use the sword to the best of their advantage. If you want to really understand a sword, look no further than its maker, the creator of heaven and earth. His design and purpose is in every inch of it and he is more than willing to show you everything you ask about it if you are sincere.
Training to use the Sword
Wielding the word as a sword that you do not know how to use is like a little child looking at this giant dangerous weapon and lugging it around swinging wildly. You keep trying to be proficient with it but instead you ignorantly cause division in places where you should not. As a child matures they should begin to have more respect for weapons because they can watch those weapons in action and learn their capabilities. They are also usually taught and reminded by their superiors of the seriousness and respect that a weapon must be shown. This is the same as with the word. We all seem to think that anyone who picks it up can just use it. We are wrong, however, and we should not forget that it is a beautiful but dangerous weapon. Once we have fashioned and sharpened our sword, we will need to practice using it. Better than practicing with strangers who are spiritually babies and toddlers would be to practice with those who are proficient. These people will help you to create the sword, understand its purpose and gently practice with you. Most importantly, they will not hurt you with their knowledge of the word or let you hurt yourself with yours.
Embarrassment is a natural response to the clumsy beginnings of our practice. When we talk to people in the beginning about the truth in the word, we trip over our words and sometimes cause more issues than we intended to first solve. We should not become angry when we are told we are using it wrong but remember that after more practice we may come to realize that we do not want to use our sword in every battle after all. Sometimes we realize that our sword can be picked up and used to gently slice some untruth away instead of swinging wildly and chopping up the enemy and other ignorant but innocent children in the process. After more time we gain strength in our muscle memory and the respect of others who have seen and heard our use of the sword. We realize with appreciation and time that we have actually gained the honored privilege to use the sword through a strength that wasn’t even our own to begin with. The design of the sword and its purpose were from the beginning. Without it’s designer and true creator we would never have even this esteemed opportunity.
Who’s sword will you use?
Swords have two main important symbolisms. Firstly, swords divide things. They can divide the good from evil, known as the sword of the spirit, made to progress the will of Yah or they can divide what is good for evil, the lesser-known sword of strife, used to stop the progress of Yah’s will.
The enemy can create nothing of his own and that means that even though there are two different swords described here, there is really just one sword of truth but the truth is being twisted. You see what makes a sword of strife is not the sword itself but rather the misuse of the sword’s true purpose and the maturity and intention of the one wielding it.
David could not handle the burden of the armor and sword of a warrior in King Sha’ul’s army but he was able to wield the weight of Goliath’s twisted sword of strife for a brief moment, turning it into the sword of truth in order to remove the head of the snake. He didn’t need to know anything at that point except how to aim to divide the enemy’s leader from his army. In the same way, the only thing we need to focus on in our fight with the huge obstacles that seek to destroy us is rooting out the cause of those issues within ourselves and cutting them off from us using their own weaknesses against them and turning our unpracticed sword of strife into the sword of the spirit.