“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, ESV) 

When Ephesians 6 describes the armor of God, it covers piece by piece the soldier’s protective gear. From head to toe, we are to put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and have our feet properly fitted with the gospel of peace. In our hand we hold the shield of faith, designed to protect us from the fiery darts that could harm us. Each piece of equipment listed is defensive, protecting us from the enemy’s attack. They help us take a stance and not retreat from battle.

But there is one other piece of equipment: the sword of the Spirit. We use this vital weapon to go on the offensive against the enemy. It is the Word of God. This powerful weapon allows us to attack against whatever the enemy brings our way.

After His baptism, Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness fasting and praying. It was there that He went through a time of temptation by the devil. (Read Matthew 4:1-11.) Each time Satan came at Jesus, the Lord refuted His enemy’s words with Scripture. “It is written.” What a powerful declaration! Jesus knew the Word and used the Word to counter every temptation Satan offered. We can do the same when we learn to wield our sword effectively.

There is an old saying that “practice makes perfect.” Regardless of our skill set, it will become rusty if we do not use that skill for a while. Musicians practice for hours at a time. Baseball players practice hitting the ball over and over. Runners keep running to keep their muscles strong. Otherwise, they lose the skill.

There’s another saying that we must “use it or lose it.” This phrase is often quoted about keeping our minds sharp by constantly learning new things. That same principle holds true with keeping the Word of God active in our lives. If we seldom read the Word, our skill in “sword fighting” will greatly diminish.

Here are just a few thoughts on how to study Scripture. We’ve all heard these things many times, but it’s good to remind ourselves of the necessity of keeping God’s Word fresh and alive in our hearts.

  • Make time in the Word a daily habit. Be consistent. Find a time that works with your schedule and set that time aside for God.
  • Begin with prayer. Ask God to open your understanding and reveal Himself in a greater way as you read.
  • Write down any thoughts or questions. Something in a passage may puzzle you. Or you may not understand the meaning of a word. (Example: The Bible refers to God as our buckler. What is a buckler?) Write down your question if you don’t have time to search it out then.
  • Take time to listen. Is God speaking to you through this passage? What is He saying? Is He convicting you? Encouraging you? Challenging you? (Write this down also.)
  • Meditate on what you are reading. Slow down and reflect. Ask yourself how can you apply this to your life? What action should you take?
  • Pray again. Ask God to plant the things you just read deep in your heart so they will be ready to use in the time of battle.
  • Apply what you learned. James 1:22 tells us, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (NLT).

I will probably never take up the sport of fencing, but I do want to learn how to effectively wield the sword of the Spirit. Knowing the Word and using it to fight off any attacks of my soul’s enemy is essential. That is how I equip myself for victory.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

Lord, You gave us the perfect example of how to use the Word to face any temptation Satan might put in our path. Your Word is “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” Plant that Word deep in my heart so that I can skillfully use Your Word in the battles of life.


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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