December 24, 2011
The Gift of the Sword of the Spirit
This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians.
There is an interesting story of the great evangelist and reformer, Martin Luther, who ultimately founded the Lutheran and Protestant faiths. There used to be a stain on the floor in his study at Wartburg Castle. When giving tours, the guide would remark that the stain occurred when Luther threw his ink bottle at the devil. You see in his later years, Luther was hounded by the enemy, and had seasons of depression and mood swings, which he called evil spirits.
In The Seal and Pledge of the Holy Spirit, Brian Allison reports:
The devil sought to discourage [Luther], by making him feel guilty, through rehearsing a list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red pen write over that list, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The devil had nothing to say.
Luther, threw ink at the enemy. It was his way of tangibly saying, “The word of God is stronger!”
It is perhaps easy to suggest that in Luther’s own defense against the enemy he was strongly influenced by Jesus himself. In both Matthew 4 and Luke 4 when Jesus was tempted by the enemy, Jesus was victorious because he threw words of scripture back at the devil.
Today’s gift is the only offensive weapon in the full armor, and that is significant. “… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
Look at how Jesus used this weapon. He is tired, He is hungry, He has been fasting for 40 days. The devil came to Jesus and to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.” Jesus answers: “It is written in the Scriptures, “A person lives not on bread alone, but by everything God says.” Matthew 4:3-4 (NCV)
Jesus is actually quoting Moses here:
Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you, because he wanted to know what was in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands. He took away your pride when he let you get hungry, and then he fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever seen. This was to teach you that a person does not live on bread alone, but by everything the Lord says. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NCV)
Two additional times when the enemy tempts Jesus, the Master uses the Word of God as an offensive weapon to defeat the devil.
So, if the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, worked for Jesus, it will certainly work for you.
But, did Jesus have his Torah handy or his internet bookmarked at www. biblegateway.com? No, it was written on his heart. He had memorized scripture. And this should give us all great motivation to learn scripture… so that we can be appropriately on the offense, when attacked by the enemy.
Do you know that most Jewish boys and girls, even today, have memorized the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, by the time they are 12 years old! 12!
Maybe scripture memory would be a great new goal for 2012? You don’t have to memorize Torah, but some key scriptures would be ideal. Here’s a link to a great resource to help you: http://bible.org/article/advanced-scripture-memory-program
Use this gift to be on the offensive. To defeat the Father of Lies. And to encourage others with the love that of God that is at its core.
Father God, thank you for this gift, the Word of God. May I write your Word on my heart. May I use this gift to defeat the enemy and to build up friends and family. May I find it to be a source of personal strength, love and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2011. Rich Ronald