And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
— Ephesians 6:17
How would you like to deal a debilitating blow to the devil when he tries to attack your life and mind?
Today I want to talk to you about what Ephesians 6:17 calls the “sword of the Spirit” — a supernatural sword that has the power to drive back the enemy and deal a blow to his attacks against your life. When you have what I’m about to describe, it gives you supernatural sword power against the devil!
In Ephesians 6:17, Paul wrote, “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” In order to fully understand Paul’s message regarding the sword of the Spirit, let’s look at what the apostle had in his mind when he used the word translated “sword.” It’s the Greek word machaira, which is the very word used to describe the type of sword that Roman soldiers used in battle.
Because the Roman army was so committed to warfare, Roman soldiers continually practiced the arts of warfare. One daily exercise was sword practice, which they undertook both in the morning and the afternoon. Every soldier practiced sword fighting by striking a six-foot-high wooden post that was firmly fixed in the ground. This post became the soldier’s “enemy” during practice. Just as he would if he were fighting a real enemy, the soldier would advance upon his target, strike hard with his sword, and then retreat.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
The soldier’s job in practice was to learn how to take advantage of his enemy, hit him at his weakest point, and strike him so he could not respond. His aim was nearly always directed toward the area of the post that represented the head or face, the thighs and legs, or occasionally the sides of the target.
The ancient Roman writer Vegetius described Roman sword-fighting tactics in his book Concerning Military Matters, saying, “They were likewise taught not to cut, but to thrust with their swords. For the Romans not only made jest of those who fought with the edge of that weapon, but always found them an easy conquest. A stroke with the edges, though, made with ever so much force, seldom kills, as the vital parts of the body are defended both by the bones and armor. On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal.”3
- Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Concerning Military Matters (De Re Militari), Book
The practices I just described are exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote, “And take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). How vital it is that we understand the sword of the Spirit!
Notice particularly where Paul said, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This word “word” is the Greek word rhema, which refers to a specific, quickened word. In order to have a sword that penetrates a blow to the enemy, we need a rhema — a specific, quickened word from the Scriptures — placed into our hearts and mouths by the Holy Spirit. With a rhema from God placed in our hearts and mouths, we have “sword power”!
Remember, all a Roman soldier had to do in order to eradicate his enemies was make a well-placed, two-inch-deep stab wound. Likewise, one rhema from the Lord has the power to eliminate the enemy’s attacks! Thank God for the sword of the Spirit!
The best example of this powerful sword of the Spirit is found in Luke 4:3-13. In this passage, Satan is repeatedly and aggressively attacking Jesus. But Jesus answered him repeatedly with a specific quickened rhema from the Holy Spirit. For example, after the devil tempted Jesus with food, Jesus drew the sword of the Spirit and rebuked Satan, saying, “…It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (v. 4). The enemy could not respond to this sword of the Spirit.
When Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worship, Jesus drew another rhema and wounded him deeply yet again. Jesus said, “…it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (v. 8). To this sword of the Spirit, Satan had no answer.
Finally, when Satan tempted Jesus to prove His deity, Jesus answered him again with a sword! He said, “It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (v. 12). With this rhema, Jesus penetrated Satan’s armor with one final stab and dealt his enemy a devastating blow. Luke 4:13 tells us that after Jesus responded multiple times with a rhema — a specific, quickened word that dealt exactly with the type of attack Jesus was facing — the devil “departed” from him. Satan was nullified by these rhema words that Jesus drew and used like a spiritual sword against him.
Like the Lord Jesus, when the Holy Spirit quickens a scripture to you and you use it against the enemy, he will eventually “depart” from you because he has no answer with which to engage you in further combat. The sword of the Spirit is a supernatural spiritual weapon that renders the devil powerless. So today I want to urge you to open your heart to let the Holy Spirit reveal the exact scriptures you need to withstand the devil’s attacks and to deal him a “fatal” blow. With those scriptures in your heart and mouth, God will have given you a spiritual sword that the devil cannot resist!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I am thankful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When I need sword power to stand against the enemy, the Holy Spirit quickens Scripture to my heart. When those verses are supernaturally revealed to me, please help me recognize and not forget or underestimate what is happening. Help me realize that the Spirit of God is placing a supernatural sword in my heart and that my job is to put it in my mouth and to wield it against the enemy. And, Father, just as the devil eventually “departed” from Jesus, at least for a season, I know that the devil will depart from me too. Thank You so much for the sword power that You give to me by the Spirit, quickening those verses to me at just the right time!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I have sword power to stand against the devil’s attacks because the Holy Spirit quickens Scripture to my heart. When those verses are supernaturally quickened to me, the Spirit places a supernatural sword in my heart. As I release those words like a sword from my mouth, I wield a debilitating blow against the enemy. As I submit myself to God, I resist the devil and he must flee from me (James 4:7). I am thankful for the sword power that the Spirit gives to me and for quickening verses to me just in the right time!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit “quickened” a verse to you, and that verse gave you instant power to stand against the attacks that were being waged against you? What was the scripture that gave you sword power against the enemy? Have you continued to wield it against the enemy as part of your customized arsenal?
- If you are being attacked in your life or mind right now, have you asked the Holy Spirit to quicken a specific verse to you that will give you sword power against the devil’s attacks?
- Do you know of any testimonies of someone who received a rhema word that suddenly gave that person direction and power for what he or she was doing or facing? What is that testimony?