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Clean your sword…

Clean Your Sword blog - Battle Ready text

Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash

Have you ever heard this phrase? It’s usually referenced in terms of battle field protocol. After the battle was over, the soldiers were required to clean their sword before putting it away. This is practical and necessary. Not only would it be super gross to put away a dirty sword, the soldier would not be able to use that sword in the next battle. They would not be able to draw their swords quickly because they’d be stuck in their holders. The swords would not be able to do the job the soldier needed them to do because the blades would be dull and corroded. All the debris from battle would have gotten crusty and probably would’ve smelled awful too. Sorry for the imagery here, but it’s true.

I mean, you have to clean all your knives after you cook so that the utensils will be put away clean and ready to prep all you’re cooking the next time you’re getting dinner ready.

This past week at church, I sat in on a really fun class at church that is beginning to go through The Chronicles of Narnia and the spiritual connections between that series and the Bible. There was part of the story in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, where Aslan tells Edmund to clean his sword. It was such a pivotal moment in the book for Edmund and the brief conversation we had in class about this has definitely lingered in my brain this week.

It immediately had my mind racing with biblical imagery of battle. In God’s wisdom, and when the people were following Him with obedient hearts, the battle was always victorious! So many battles that the people prepared to fight in didn’t even have to raise their swords at all. In these battles of the Old Testament, the Lord was showing His people the true reality of wars in the spiritual realms. But there were also times that the people didn’t listen, taking matters into their own ‘capable’ hands and those battles were usually always lost.

If you are familiar with the book of Ephesians in the Bible, then you know there is a whole section dedicated to equipping the Christian for spiritual warfare. Before I go there, the Bible references swords a little over 400 times. All to do with battle of course.

Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Why does a sword need to be double-edged you may wonder? Well, when a soldier is adept at using their sword, they are able to wield it with such power that whether they hit from the left or the right, the sword will find its target every time and win. This is why the author of Hebrews uses this visual, comparing the Bible to a double-edged sword.

But how are we as warriors in the spiritual realm wield the Bible properly as a “two-edged sword”? In short, very carefully.

There are plenty out there who unfortunately use God’s Word to bring shame, disgrace, and defeat to those they deem inferior. Oh friend, if you have ever had someone use God’s Word to make you feel less than, please accept my apology on their behalf. Please believe and know that every scripture in the Bible is meant to draw us closer to the One who created each of us. Are there verses that deal with hard things like sin, obedience, disobedience, purity, and ways to live our life? Absolutely! But they are not there to make you feel like a worm.

The Bible is God’s love letter to you to let you know how truly LOVED you are by Him!

In Ephesians 6:10-17, we read a beautiful portion of scripture called The Armor of God:

The Armor of God

10 “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having[b]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [c]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [d]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

In these short 8 verses, we see the perfect and complete description of what we need to do in our life today to be fully prepared to do battle. Whether that battle is in a hard conversation you have to have with someone, in disciplining one of your children, in decision-making times in your life, and of course in the spiritual realm.

God doesn’t say anywhere in the above scriptures, “Hey, if you’re tired or just feeling out of it, you can just pick the piece of armor you want to put on for the day and you’ll be good.” NO WAY!

Can you imagine actually going into a physical battle and deciding, “I’m just too tired to get ready. I’m having a great hair day and the helmet is totally gonna mess that up. Oh, and that shield is really heavy so I’ll give myself a rest today and grab it tomorrow.”

That would be ludicrous ~ and it would bring certain death!

So why do we as Believers do that to ourselves all the time?!?!?!

God tells us to be completely dressed in His armor so that we can successfully win the battle against us! These six pieces of God’s armor are all needed:

  • The belt of Truth
  • The breastplate of Righteousness
  • The ‘shoes’ of Peace
  • The shield of Faith
  • The helmet of Salvation
  • The sword of the Spirit

When we secure the truth of scripture around us, choosing to live rightly before God, walk in a way that brings peace to all situations, protecting our hearts with a deep faith in what God says about us and about who He is, keeping our minds clear and focused on the One who saved us from spiritual death, and properly utilizing God’s Word; then and only then are we truly prepared for battle.

It means that every day before we go to sleep, we must take care of our armor so that it’s ready for us to put on the next day. If we have battled, we must go before the Lord and have Him help us clean away the debris of the day. As the visual God gives us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, how do we ‘clean’ that sword? This kind of stumped me for a minute and I asked God to show me what that means.

The Lord gave me a picture of a beautiful bible sitting on a coffee table, but that’s the extent of its use. It was simply decorative. The owner loved the bible enough to show all who entered that they had one but they had no idea what was inside.

We keep the ‘sword of the Spirit’ clean when we open it and do not let it collect dust or be on show for others to see. What’s important is the love letter that is inside for us to read and allow to permeate our heart, mind, and soul.

So, when you have those days, because we all do, where it seems like nothing is going right and everyone is against us…take a quick look at what you are ‘wearing’.

Did you try to go into battle on your own? Did we pick and choose what part of God’s armor to wear that day? Or worse yet, did we run out of the house spiritually naked? Yikes! Trust me, this is as much for me as it is for you that are reading this.

God does not waste words because His words bring life. 

Today, I would like to encourage you to allow God’s good Word to breathe life back into your soul today. Whatever battle you have been fighting, STOP! Take a pause to get dressed for battle and if you are weary, ask the Lord to help you put on His armor. The Lord’s armor is not too heavy ~ it is for your protection.

And remember, when the battle is done, clean your sword, shake off the dust of war, and trust that your Commander-in-Chief will take the night-watch for you!

Blessings,

René

 

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women's Ministries, Writers

Weaponized Prayer…

“Weaponized Christianity” ~ This phrase has been spoken about quite a bit in the news lately, because of various outspoken people who also hold public office. There are a ton of Christians coming out against some of these people saying that their public prayers/actions are unbiblical and that they are “offensive to everyone”, Christians and non-Christians alike.
But the statement that pops out to me the most is with the phrase, ‘weaponized prayer’.
But isn’t that what prayer is supposed to be?
Prayer is THE weapon to fight EVERY spiritual battle.
A battle entails weapons and we have to have the right weapons to fight a battle. To fight a spiritual battle we must be fully dressed in the FULL armor of God.
The famous phrase from one of my all time favorite movies, Princess Bride, comes to mind here: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
To weaponize means: to supply or equip with a weapon or weapons; 
to develop for use as a weapon. 
A weapon is: any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat, fighting, or war, as a sword, rifle, or cannon. 
When facing any kind of battle, be it physical or spiritual, there can be a good amount of fear or hesitation. John 14:1 is a beautiful encouragement as we prepare to engage in battle.  “”Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.”
As followers of Christ, we need to stand firm and not be intimidated by how the world says we should act. The world (and even some Christians) says that we shouldn’t be specific in stating our biblical beliefs and spiritual perspectives. That we shouldn’t run the risk of offending people by talking about Jesus. That we need to be inclusive of how everyone chooses to live and keep our ideas to our self.
It is truly not a surprise to me anymore that people simply come undone at the mention of the Name of Jesus! We all should! It has more power than we even have the ability to comprehend.
But let’s get back to the idea of weaponizing prayer!  Come on!!!  This is exactly what we do every time we are obedient to put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6 gives us the tools that we need to be equipped to fight the spiritual battles arounds us and prayer is the supply chain leading us to the One who gives us the ability to attack our enemy, the Devil.
PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ENEMY!!  THE DEVIL IS THE ENEMY!!
There are so many people saying how Christ came to unite and not to divide. And I do not think there is actually anything biblical about that statement. The only unification that Christ came to bring was to unify a fallen world back to Him.
In the verse below, we see how absolute Jesus was about what we need to do to be saved. He does not talk about a variety of divergent paths that all lead to one single destination. His word does not encourage the reader to “find their own truth.” He is extremely clear on the ONE path to salvation ~ John 14:6, in Jesus’ own words make an incredibly strong statement. Just one of the many times He spoke truth in love, “Jesus said to him, “ I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.””
He came and died and rose again so that we would be reconciled back to Him. In doing so, He gave us the freedom to either choose Him and His way of salvation or not to choose Him and end up being eternally separated from Him.
Essentially, we are given the choice to divide ourselves out of His presence by not submitting to His plan of salvation. When Jesus was on the earth, He was absolutely the most divisive figure in history. And I think He still is.
He was divisive because He challenged people to lay down their own desires and their own ideas of how they thought life should be and choose to follow Him. To surrender ourselves to Him is to separate ourselves from the selfishness that a sin-nature brings out in people. In this way, Jesus was so divisive that people of that day, chose to have Barabbas (an extremely violent felon who had committed murder; Mark 15:7-15) saved from death on the cross and instead put Jesus there.
They wanted to crucify Jesus because he told the truth
and people couldn’t handle the truth.
We haven’t come too far from those people, have we?
Back in Ephesians 6, I counted all the words that even remotely have to do with weapons/weaponizing, and found at least 22 (depending on your Bible translation, you might find more):
* be strong  * strength  * be empowered  * power  * boundless might  * armor 
* heavily-armed  * stand up against  * struggle  * successfully resist  * stand your ground  * stand firm  * fully prepared  * immovable  * victorious  * face the enemy  * firm-footed stability  * protective shield  * extinguish flaming arrows  * sword 
* stay alert  * interceding
Here’s the key to all of these action words regarding our battle and the weapons we have ~ they are all found in the Lord. They are not found within us naturally. Ephesians 6:10 says, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.”
Only through our union with Him, our obedience to follow His path for our life, and our determination to fight the spiritual battles that come our way alongside the Lord, will we be able to walk through this life victorious.
{If you have never read through Ephesians 6, especially verses 10-20,
please take a moment to do that today ~ it’s totally worth it!!}
As a follower of Jesus Christ, yes we are called to speak truth in love, and to love our neighbor as our self, to show kindness and grace to those around us. But we are absolutely called to be warriors for the Kingdom. And it is absolutely possible to battle lovingly! Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that the battle is a spiritual one ~ and believe me from my own experience…spiritual battles are real…they are no joke! That’s why we have to be aware!!
Just as we are not to use prayer as a disguise for gossip, we are not to use prayer against others. Ephesians 6: 18 instructs this, “With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.”
Stand firm in the faith of your salvation to speak God’s truth. Use the spiritual weapons we have been given through the Holy Spirit, and He will absolutely lead you into the battles that are yours to fight. And when you are tempted to back-bite against other Christians, check yourself, check scripture, pray about it…and more than likely, you will end up not speaking out. Remember, the battles we fight the most are spiritual. And what better way for the Devil to cause Christians to be divided against each other but to have us go to war with each other.
As Paul states in Ephesians 6:19-20, and it should be the same prayer for all of us, “And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.”
Blessings to you for boldness as you use your spiritual weapons responsibly!
~ René