Take the … sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17, ESV)
In bygone days the surrender of a soldier’s sword was a symbol of being placed under arrest or of surrendering to an victorious opponent. Often the sword would be broken by the victor as a way to symbolize the degradation of defeat.
The question Christians need to answer is whether we too often surrender our swords when engaged in spiritual battle. The apostle identifies our sword as the word of God.
When Jesus was attacked by Satan in the wilderness, he responded to the devil’s temptations by quoting an applicable Bible passage. He used his sword to thwart the wicked one.
Surely this is an area in which we should emulate our Lord. How much more victorious would we find ourselves over temptations if we spent more time feasting on God’s word as did Jesus?
Another area of life in which we face temptation to surrender our sword is in evangelism. Formerly our culture was populated with people who held to a belief that the Bible was God’s word even if they were unconverted. With the rise of modernism, less of the populace held to such a view. The Bible came to be viewed as a book of man’s invention and therefore lacking in authority.
The postmodern rise in my own generation questioned the very notion of authority. Every man became judges of what is right or wrong in their own eyes.
Christians often have sought to engage disciples of the modern or postmodern culture by using the weapons of the culture. Reason and experience often has replaced the Bible in the attempt to see men come to faith in Christ. While these weapons may have a secondary place, they can never replace the primary weapon of the word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.(Hebrews 4:12, ESV)
As the writer of Hebrews wrote (quoted above), the word of God is a living weapon. It is sharper than any other weapon. It pierces men deeply – to the point at which the Spirit of God brings conviction and conversion.
For our own sake and for the sake of those with whom we long to come to faith, it is time that we unsheathe our swords…instead of surrendering them.