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A meditation on Ephesians 6:17


Here is the only weapon available to us.

The sword referred to here was a short sword used in close combat as a defensive weapon to ward off up-close attacks of the enemy. It was not the large sword used in an aggressive campaign. By its very nature God’s provision of this kind of sword tells us that we are not to go out looking for a fight – this weapon was never intended for that – but when the fight comes to us, it is this weapon with which we defend ourselves. 

The ‘sword’ is not referring to the totality of God’s truth (which is the protective belt of truth - verse 14) but to the individual parts of the scripture which the Holy Spirit brings to our mind and to our remembrance when we are attacked by Satan. So, to use this sword of the Spirit is to counter, resist and rebut the evil one, by recalling specific portions of the Word of God, in the way that Jesus did in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, and using them to displace, defuse and disempower Satan’s temptations, accusations and deceptions. This obviously necessitates a good knowledge of God’s written Word, the Bible, in order for the Spirit to bring it to our remembrance.

When the Holy Spirit brings a portion of Scripture to our minds he is arming us with his sword, the only weapon we have to defend ourselves against attacks of the evil one. Of this gracious ministry of the Spirit Jesus said: 

‘But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you’ [John 14:26].

‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, come, he will guide you into all truth. … The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you’ [John 16:13, 15].

 And concerning this grace and this gift Paul warned: 

‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …’  [Ephesians 4:30]

‘Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is … be filled with the Spirit ..’ [Ephesians 5:17,18]

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly …’ [Colossians 3:16]

‘Quench not the Spirit’ [KJV - 1 Thess 5:19].

 The writer of Psalm 119 understood well the significance and defensive power of the Word of God: 

‘I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you’ [verse11],

‘your promise preserves my life’ [verse 50],

‘I have put my hope in your word’ [verse 81],

‘I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life’ [verse 93], ‘direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me’ [verse 133]. 

In deep humility, trust and obedience let us take up and use this sword, this gracious provision

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011