over the past few days, maybe even weeks the Lord has brought the image of a sword to my mind and apparently to a good friends mind. there is a book written by Mark Driscoll where he tells a story about a great battle in which Jesus is crucified and buried. satan has seemingly defeated the Christ. but, 3 days later Jesus rises from the dead, defeating death and the great enemy. the infuriated satan, not knowing what else to do, snatches us- you and me- as his captives. he thrusts his sword to our heads, naming our sin and sentencing us to death. he begins to recall our shortcomings and places we have failed to measure up to the law. then, Jesus, our savior, intercedes on our behalf assuring satan that our sin has been paid for and he no longer has any right to spew his blasphemies. Jesus commands our release. Jesus Christ then uses his own sword to bash the head of our enemy, releasing us from his grasp. we have been purchased by His blood. set free- for He is our victory.
a good friend of mine has been sensing a war. a very real war. a war going on around us, but invisible to our eyes. recently she was in a dream in which the great enemy threatened to thrust his sword into her, most assuredly bringing her death. in this dream the enemy was not permitted to kill her, or even bring her harm. he had-in the dream- and has-in real life- no authority over her. absolutely none. his sword was stopped and his mouth was shut.
in scripture we see over and over the word of God being referred to as a sword. in ephesians 6, we are commanded to “take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” in hebrews 4 it compares the word of God to a “two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow.” Jesus himself claims the word of God as truth. so we can know and be confident in the fact that the sword we carry is truth. and truth brings life. and joy. and freedom.
so what do we do with this…how does this play out in my life? in talking through this outloud i have this overwhelming sense that we are in fact “knit together”(psalm 139) and intimately known by the God, Creator of the universe. he has in fact “put eternity in our hearts”(ecclesiates 3). we were created for much more than this earthly tent. we were created for a heavenly dwelling(2 corinthians 5). we are in the world but not of it(john 17). maybe thats why it makes so much sense that we “know”, somewhere deep in our beings that we are made to fight. we know there is a war going on(ephesians 6). i think we know that we are to take up armor and weapons. i think we know we are called into this story. i think we know there is an enemy out there who is “prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”(1 peter5). we know these things- deep in our beings we know them.
but we are presented with two images of a sword. we see the sword being the law-satan naming our sin and calling for our death. but we also see the sword being truth- the word of God. we see one sword bringing death and the other bringing life. and so often, i am afraid we pick up the wrong one. we know we are to wield a sword, we just grab the wrong one. we end up thrusting the sword of the law at our own heads, naming our own sin, and in the end calling for our own death. and Jesus himself is standing face to face with us, telling us, in great detail, the story of how He IS our victory. the battle has been fought, the battle has been won and now He is calling us to take up the sword of truth-His promises, His word- and stand confidently in the fact that the battle is His and He WILL fight for us. we only need to be still(exodus 14).
the enemy has no right to us. not to you. not to me. command him to leave and he must(james 4). he is under the authority of our Christus Victor. so, dear friends, there is a battle. there is a war. but be careful. choose your sword wisely. one brings death, the other, life. may we choose life, so that we may live. the battle is the Lords and when we take up arms we tend to choose poorly and in the end become our greatest enemy’s ally. so stand on truth. take up the sword of truth. and stand firm that the battle is won. and we are called to proclaim the victory and rest in what Christ has done. may we plead the blood of Christ.