Today’s article continues an eight week series on the armor of God. A very important part of being prepared spiritually for the “End Times” is being dressed in and utilizing the whole armor of God for Satan will be extremely powerful and even more deceptive because he knows that his time is short. The next piece of armor to be put on by the Christian soldier is the sword of the Spirit. This is the weapon that our Lord and Savior used against the devil in His wilderness temptations. Notice that the devil was the one who first quoted Old Testament scripture, which was then countered by Christ with another scripture. When Jesus Christ quoted scripture He shed light on the devil’s misinterpretation of God’s Word by putting it into its proper context. As we fast approach the end of days, many are coming out from the church, no longer resting under its authority and guidance for scriptural interpretation, which leaves many to interpret scripture as they feel led. The problem is who’s doing the leading, is it the Holy Spirit of God who leads us into all truth or is it the devil disguising himself as an angel of light?
Scripture quoted out of context, not weighing what the rest of the Bible has to say about the topic or having true discernment on who is doing the leading has led many in their spiritual pride to form cults or develop full blown heresies. This is the devil’s work to separate religious people so that they can be destroyed. In these days, the enemy is running rampant in the church, looking to divide and conquer. Just taking a cursory look at the New Testament, we see much written to combat the heresies springing up in the first century where the Word of God was changed and manipulated to lead people astray so that they would no longer rest under God’s authority but taken captive by the devil to do his bidding.
As soldiers of God, we take up the sword of the Spirit to take our stand against the real enemy standing behind those who would use God’s Word to their own advantage. “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). So dear friends, don’t be so quick to quote a favorite verse or an endless list of scripture from your own understanding, but wait upon the Lord to give you just the right scripture and its proper interpretation to be used to counter the enemy. For those who have been taken captive by the devil, they will feel the spiritual penetration of God’s Word reaching deep into their callous and prideful heart to bring conviction. It’s only this conviction from the Holy Spirit that will bring true deliverance from the enemy’s camp. Therefore, the sword of the Spirit is very powerful in our struggle against the enemy, but we must use it wisely. To rush ahead in your own biblical understanding will only allow the enemy to strengthen his hold upon those taken captive. So we must wait upon the Spirit to give us just the right Word to break the chains of the devil and free the hostages.
False Doctrine is another wile of the devil, but the Christian soldier can fight false doctrine by picking up the sword of the Spirit. A word of caution here is necessary. If you attempt to pick up the sword and use it to fight false doctrine without being filled with the Spirit, you set yourself up for a devastating defeat by Satan and his minions. Only through God’s Holy Spirit can we receive the appropriate words to defeat Satan. Jesus said, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11-12, italics are mine). Even if we have studied the entire Bible and understand the original languages and put everything in its proper context, we will be no match against those spouting their false doctrine unless we are first filled with the Holy Spirit who gives us the words to say at the proper time.
This does not negate the fact that the Christian soldier should also have taken the time to read through all of God’s Word with an open and teachable heart. In your study of the Bible, you must always allow God to speak to you first prior to ever picking up a commentary, a lexicon, a Bible dictionary, or any other tool. Meditate long on each passage of scripture, rolling it over and over again in your mind, putting it into its proper context, and asking God through much prayer its meaning and proper application for your life. The more you study God’s Word, the easier it is to allow the Holy Spirit to bring these verses back to your memory and on to your tongue to confront those who would attempt to lead you astray through false doctrine.
Most all false doctrines have come through not listening to the Holy Spirit and by not following the proper methods of studying the Bible. They may have studied the whole Bible but refuse to recognize that there is a difference between the teachings of apocalyptic writings with a fair amount of symbolism, parables, poetry, prose, the use of hyperbole, and other types of writings in the Bible. Throughout Christian history, some have spiritualized large portions of the Bible or taken everything in a literal sense, which has caused great confusion among Christians. It is only common sense to recognize the different types of literature so that a proper interpretation can be made, which will always be confirmed through the Holy Spirit. In these last days, the devil is spawning false doctrines at a rate never seen before in an attempt to divide and destroy God’s holy church. We must take up the sword of the Spirit and take our stand against the schemes of the devil. But again, let me remind you that this needs to be done with the whole armor of God. Take a moment before proceeding and ensure that you have taken up each piece of armor and know how to use it, because we are about to enter into Satan’s most powerful strongholds.
Traditions of men are another wile of the devil, but the Christian soldier can fight the traditions of men by picking up the sword of the Spirit. You might ask, “Why do I need to fight against the traditions of men?” I am sure there are many harmless traditions of men that will not cause the Christian soldier any problems. For example, our family has a tradition to invite family over for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year. In of itself, there is nothing wrong with this tradition as long as it does not interfere with God’s will during that time of the year. But on the other hand, there are many traditions of men that are harmful, which gives the devil an open door. Christ told the Pharisees that they had put their traditions over or above the clear teachings of God’s Word. “Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?’” (Matthew 15:3). The traditions that concern us are those traditions that would keep us from wielding the sword of the Spirit against the devil and his minions.
Tolerance is a tradition of men that keeps us from wielding the sword. This tradition has grown so popular and widespread in the global community that to wield your sword against it will cause you untold problems and eventual persecution. The coming antichrist will unite all nationalities, all cultures, and all religions together in a new world order so that they can be controlled. This is only possible by causing all to accept his philosophy of tolerance. Whereas, holding onto the truth that Christ is the only way to the Father will we be able to maintain the exclusiveness of Christianity and stand against the designs of the devil with the sword of the Spirit.
Lies are another wile of the devil, but the Christian soldier can fight the devil’s lies by picking up the sword of the Spirit. As the father of lies this is the most powerful wile of the devil. The serpent has lied from the beginning when he caused Eve to question the integrity of God. “Did God really say?” (See Genesis 3:1) He has lied to Christians down through the centuries, causing them to question the integrity of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. So how does he do that? The first major lie instigated by the devil claims, “the devil does not exist, and the demon-possessed people Christ helped simply suffered from some psychological problem and not demon possession.” This lie is so accepted in our time that very few books are written on how to stand against the enemy while many more books are written on how to cope with your psychological problems. Quite clearly this is a lie of the devil.
As Christian soldiers, we must pick up the sword of the Spirit and wield it against this lie. We do this by putting on the full armor of God and standing against all the wiles of the devil, which will make you stronger in the Lord and able to teach others. As we wield our sword against this lie, then others will escape the bondage of the devil and his lie. They will escape the lie that they were sick with some sort of psychological problem that can only be cured by the world’s counseling techniques and prescription drug plan. Of course, the second biggest lie of the devil is that God has not given us everything we need for life and godliness. God’s Word gives us answers concerning depression, anxiety, loneliness, temptation, fear, and feelings of guilt along with many other problems that plague mankind in our day. We need to know these truths from God’s Word to become an effective soldier against the deceits of the devil. Are you engaging the enemy?
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