“To every thing there is a season…a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,8
There is a great hymn, written by Reginald Heber, which begins: “The Son of God goes forth to war, a kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar; Who follows in His train?” Of what does He speak? The day that the Lord Jesus was baptized, He, in a manner of speaking, reached down and picked up His sword. What was that sword? According to the Apostle Paul, it was the “sword of the Spirit, (which) IS the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) In Hebrews 4:12, we discover certain qualities of this “word of God.” It IS living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” From the inception of the Lord Jesus’ ministry, He used this sword, cutting through the lies and deceit of the enemy. He used that sword, “…mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5) What does this mean? It means that Christ went forth, armed with the truth of the word of God, in the power of the Spirit, to reach the minds and hearts of those to whom He ministered. He knew that if the kingdom of God was to come into the hearts and minds of men, the truth of God would of necessity need to be proclaimed, and then received, in the power of the Spirit.
There are times in the Christian life where the Great Shepherd of our souls, leads us by quiet waters, in green pastures. We know the peace of God in a most wonderful manner. But in this life of following Christ, the Christian is also brought face to face with that which is NOT of God, and this in the form of lies and the deception of our enemy, with one purpose, to dishonor God, and destroy men. Though the God of Peace is able to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus in difficult circumstances, there is nonetheless the fact that we are in a struggle, a fight, a warfare to know, keep, and use well, the truth. It is in that difficult time that the sword of the Spirit must be grasped, and used well and effectively, to overcome the opposition to the truth. The quiet, penetrating work of the Spirit, by the word of God, must be believed in, and lived by. To neglect taking up the sword, by NOT learning the truth and living by it, is to deny the “way” of God, by which His power is revealed, and His purposes achieved.
Dear Father, with the Lord Jesus as our example, and His resources made ours by faith in Thee, give us to grasp well this sword of the Spirit, Your word. Strengthen our hearts to not only live by its truth, but to overcome by the Spirit, all that is in opposition to it. Enable us to live in the blessed peace which You give us, but also, to grip tightly the sword of the Spirit, in order to stand, withstand, and overcome all opposition for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.