The sword is often used as a symbol of death or destruction in God’s word. Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Then we see a sword listed as part of our spiritual “equipment” in (Ephesians 6:17), and maybe we feel a sense of power. But, what is the purpose of the “sword of the Spirit” (Word of God)?
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Sometimes we might look at the Bible in our hands and think of it as a weapon with which we can inflict pain or shame on others. The Bible is a “sword” and can be used to fight when necessary.
But the Sword of the Spirit isn’t a sword of offense and destruction. It is an element of rescue (James 1:21). In the parable of the seed or sower, the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11). It is gently inserted into the hearts of men and women with the hope that it will grow and save them from death. The Sword of the Spirit is a precise, surgical tool. “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).
I urge you not to flail God’s word about like a sledgehammer, hoping to win arguments and inflict shame. Rather, aim it with all care and accuracy, and trust God to use you to impact the eternities of the people around you.—Darrell