If you knew of an effective, spiritual weapon that would flawlessly protect you from the schemes of the enemy, would you use it?
Jesus did. He was adept at using the Sword of the Spirit.
In the wilderness, He was hungry, hadn’t likely slept well for weeks, and was far from what might have felt comfortable. 40 days of fasting in the wilderness will do that. During this time of weakness, Jesus faced the temptation of Satan (see Luke 4:1-13), fought a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons, and walked away victorious. This provides the ultimate example of using the Sword of the Spirit, which the Bible teaches is the Word of God.
The Temptation of Jesus and What it Teaches About our Enemy
The Lord’s interaction with the enemy exposes the schemes of the evil one. It’s good to know our enemy and through this event, and we learn much about his destructive tactics:
- Satan comes after us in times of weakness. While we hope that he may leave us alone during difficult periods, the opposite is true. He knows the perfect times to move in and attack – and it’s not while we’re strong.
- The enemy knows exactly how to pull each of us off track. He may come after me with lies about my identity in Christ while assaulting you with temptation toward laziness. There’s no question he knows just where and how to strike and he executes with precision.
- The efforts of the enemy are relentless. Satan knows we may withstand one wave of temptation, so he’s prepared to move in with additional assaults if necessary.
- Tactics of the enemy are to accuse, tempt, and deceive. Watch the progression:
- Accusation: Luke 4:3 – “If you are the Son of God…” Can’t you just hear that hiss? The whisper to our Savior saying, you’re not really the son of God.
- Temptation: Luke 4:6-7 – “I will give you all this domain and its glory… if You worship before me.” He tried to tempt Jesus with kingdoms of this world.
- Deception: Luke 4:9-11 – Our enemy knows God’s Word and twists it with the intent to deceive: Just jump, he dared. God will send His angels to protect you.
Jesus battled each tactic with one weapon: the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Scripture worked against each of the enemy’s schemes. Talk about powerful and effective!
Using the Sword of the Spirit—Praying Scripture
What does it mean to use the Sword of the Spirit? It’s simply praying the Word of God.
Satan tried to control Jesus through temptation, accusation, and deception. Our own vulnerabilities look different, but for each of us, the enemy attempts to open a dangerous pit of control and mastery that we must fight hard to avoid. The Sword is a powerful weapon.
Beth Moore authored a tremendous book titled Praying God’s Word. It seemed as if I highlighted nearly every word I read. In this book, she refers to the practice of praying God’s Word as: “… one of the most effective approaches to the liberated life in Christ that God has ever taught me.” When we use God’s Word relentlessly in prayer it’s part of putting on the full Armor of God. By wielding the Sword of the Spirit:
- We know we are praying His will, and using His perfect words to intercede.
- We’re using the most powerful tool in our arsenal.
- Truth begins to fill our minds so that we can ward off the lies of the enemy.
- Eventually, we’ll learn the verses by heart so that the Holy Spirit can call them to mind when we need them most.
Victory in Jesus
It’s imperative to recognize that you and I have all the same weapons that Jesus had to fight the spiritual battle.
- The Word of God is at our disposal. If we find we’re too busy to read and meditate on the Bible, we forfeit the most potent tool in our toolbox. You’ll notice that Jesus first response was Scripture. He didn’t need to stop and look up a verse – He knew the Word of God.
- Our loving, heavenly Father remains in full authority over Satan. God never tempts us. He does not allow us to undergo temptation without reason – for our strengthening and betterment. “Temptation is Satan’s weapon to defeat us, but it can become God’s tool to build us.”
- We have God-given power and authority over the enemy. Do you find yourself questioning this? Look at these Scriptures and embrace them as God’s truth: Luke 10:19, Colossians 2:10, 1 John 4:4.
- The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. I’ve had moments – and I bet you have too – where I feel I’m walking into a battle without prayer support. Sometimes battles come upon us in a surprising fashion, without time to ask for prayer from our sisters and support teams. But here’s a truth to cling to: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness… the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. … He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 HCSB).
It’s time to wield the Sword of the Spirit
It’s time to let the Word of God penetrate our minds, hearts, and spirits so that we can use it as the powerful and effective weapon that it’s intended to be. Here are a few challenges to help us get started:
- Get involved in Bible Study. If you’re new to Bible study, I shared tips for Bible Study beginners in an article you’re sure to find helpful.
- Choose one verse to learn by heart. Read it, write it on an index card, say it, sing it, and by all means, use it to battle our enemy. Pick a verse that specifically speaks to your biggest weakness, your area of vulnerability. (Use openbible.info for help).
- Pray the Scriptures over your family. As you read through daily devotions you’re sure to read Bible verses that make you shout, “I wish my ___ knew that!” Well, pray it for them! Insert their name into it. Ask God to fill them with it. Refer to pages 86-91 of Fervent by Priscilla Shirer for additional help. As you start to pray the Scriptures, pay attention to how God moves. Prepare to be astonished, then be sure to thank the Lord!
- Read a Psalm – just one – each day for an entire week. Read it silently and out loud. Paste it into the notes section of your phone so you can read it at the doctor’s office or in the drive-through. The more you read, the more familiar it becomes and the more it starts to sink into the portion of your brain that memorizes. It becomes like that product jingle that you can’t get out of your head – only you want this one!
With Practice Comes Progression
As with any tool or weapon, wielding the Sword of the Spirit requires practice. We don’t seek perfection, but we are looking to move forward, to equip ourselves for battle, to prepare our hearts and minds to honor God above all else. We have the power – and the authority – to say “No, Satan. Not today. I will not believe your lies because I know the truth and here it is!” And then, we walk away from the battle in freedom and victory. How fun is that? Have a blessed day in the Lord, my friend.