I always read the “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6 somewhat inattentively. It’s a nifty little metaphor, but is sometimes preached from just a little too often. It’s one of those I-don’t-have-a-sermon-planned-so-this-is-a-good-passage passages. But as cliche and overdrawn as I find the metaphor sometimes, there is a lot of value to what Paul is saying.
I was particularly struck by the “Sword of the Spirit” concept. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. We also know from Hebrews 4:12 that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.”
As part of the Armor of God metaphor, many people wiser than I have acknowledged that this is the only offensive weapons; the remainder of the armor is all protection from spiritual warfare. And so, I always consider the Sword of the Spirit–the Word of God–as something used by me. It is a tool I wield to fight for the Kingdom.
But the metaphor behaves poorly here. As much as the Sword is something used by us, it is also used against us. That is why when we are knowingly caught in patterns of sin that the Bible becomes so convicting. It convicts like a sword that pierces through bone and marrow.
When I am caught in patterns of sin, I can thrive on Christian literature without confronting my sin. But even to mindlessly read chapters of genealogies in scripture can be more convicting than the most articulate of Christian authors because there is a certain weight and power associated with scripture, at least in my mind.
So while we wield the Sword of the Spirit, we must be carefully to respect the weaponry given to us, lest it be used against us. When we neglect the Sword, it will taken up by someone else to bring us back into submission of our King, the Lord of armies.