I participated in a bible study this week and the “armor of God” was reviewed:
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17, NLT)
Did you just skim those verses?
Be honest. With the advent of reading online, research is broadly acknowledging that skimming is now the new normal. Some researchers think social media has exasperated the propensity to skim because of the infinite scroll feature. If what we are looking at doesn’t grab our attention or gets the least bit boring, we can move to the next option with the stroke of our thumb.
What is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God listed above?
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
How is the Word of God used as a sword by the Holy Spirit?
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12)
The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to reveal the truth about ourselves. We cannot read the bible well without facing the truth about the condition of our hearts. That is not bad news. We want that to happen! When things are revealed in our hearts that do not line up with God’s nature, they can be confessed and forgiven. Also, when we are staring down the truth about ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word every day, we are less likely to be judgmental of the faults and weaknesses of others. The Holy Spirit uses the sword of the Spirit to slice through all the games our hearts can play and exposes the deceptions we have absorbed.
I get nervous about some things.
By “nervous,” I mean my guard goes up. I can proceed, but I do so with some wariness and concern, asking lots of questions. For example, I get nervous when the leadership in a church or organization does not reflect the myriad of skin colors that appear on our globe. I get nervous when people say they are Christ followers but don’t reflect His nature. I get nervous when I go to church and no one opens their bible for the entire morning. (I also get nervous when I see milk has been sitting out on the counter. Bad childhood memory.)
I think we should get nervous when we are not turning the pages of our bibles.
After all, it is the only offensive weapon in God’s armor. The Bible is the sword God uses to clean our hearts so the Spirit of God has all the room He needs to flow through us!
Reading the bible takes some effort.
It is often easier to watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or have coffee with a friend than to read our bible with concentration. It is also easier to skim the Bible than to read with focus.
How we read our bibles may matter.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11-12)
(Did you resist skimming?)
When we skim, can God’s Word act as a sword? A surgeon needs to get a good night’s sleep and have full concentration in order to insert a scalpel into a body and perform surgery successfully. I think there may be a connection between the level of concentration we have when reading God’s Word and how well the Spirit can use the bible as a sword.
Is there another offensive weapon?
I believe there is another offensive weapon in the armor of God list that is often left out. Immediately following the list of the armor of God, which ends with the sword of the Spirit, we read this: Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18, NLT)
We can pray! We can take heaven by storm and fight “against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
But we can’t pray most powerfully until our armor is on, all of it.
That means, if we aren’t turning the pages of our Bible and giving the Spirit room to be a sword, then our prayers may be less effectual too.
I need to go turn some pages.
Picture Explanation: (Top to bottom) – My bible in high school, then college, then the first-half of my marriage, then currently. And sometimes a woman has to toss a picture of her newest grandbaby into her post.
Speaking of whether your bible is well read:
If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. The next opportunity for a face-to-face study starts June 7. Let’s focus on things that count for eternity!
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Hi, Laurie! It was fun to see your Bibles! Yes, we need to chew on God’s word! For sure! Thanks for bringing that up! Have a great week!
Ha! Some of my bibles do look chewed. To think of all the fiery darts they have quenched. Our sword.
I cannot imagine life without the word. You just are not growing personally if you are not reading it for yourself. Often times I have seen people get caught up in listening to messages on line which is good. It just isn ‘t the same as reading the word for yourself and having the Holy Spirit speak directly to your heart.
I see your phrase, “not growing personally.” I think you are onto something. There are certain parts of growth that can be expedited, but not skipped. I think we can try to skip, and when we do, we stunt our spiritual growth.
P.S. – You knew me when I was using the brown bible. Crazy.
You are spot on Laurie. I also have to share that I too have a thing about the half and half or milk left on the counter. I encountered it many times and just went without my coffee. I loved that you threw in a picture of you and your new grandchild❣️ Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts in an authentic way! It made my Sunday!
I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one with a sour milk story. Ha! Happy Sunday.
“I think there may be a connection between the level of concentration we have when reading God’s Word and how well the Spirit can use the bible as a sword.”
What a great point. Praying the Holy Spirit reminds me of this everytime I’m tempted to skim through God’s word.
I am right with you, fighting that temptation!