Preparing for Battle
emptations crowd into my life daily, and I want to silence all the thoughts filled with doubt and distractions. Fortunately, God has given me a marvelous weapon, certain to win the battle no matter how strong the enemy - the Word of God. It is the one part of God's armor which is primarily offensive rather than defensive. And, when properly handled, it is guaranteed to send the enemy on a fast retreat.
tells me to "take the sword" which He has given me.
Held and wielded by faith, it cuts through all bondages and destroys every enemy
stronghold. My King is the living Word, my Sword! He joined me to Himself, so that my arm raised in battle is, in fact,
His arm raised in triumph over all the forces of the enemy.
I will seek Him, dress in the "full armor of God," then go out ready and
equipped to win. When I encounter obstacles
to the peace and freedom He has promised, His sword in my hand will cut them down and
bring victory in His name.
Jesus, precious Word of God, teach me to wield Your powerful sword as You did. Against every tempting lie, You raised that standard of the Word and triumphed. Which Scripture shall be my sword in each of my battles today? Show me, so that Your Purpose be fulfilled through my life today. Thank You, my King.
temptations did you face this week? Which
kinds of subtle suggestions broke down your resistance?
You probably bypassed the big, obvious ones without hesitation, but how did you
handle the marginal proposals of self-pity, resentment, and anxiety.
you struggle with overindulgence. When you
walk by a bakery, the tantalizing fragrance of oven-fresh rolls traps your attention.
You stop and gaze at the banquet of frosted, buttered delicacies.
Among all the creamy pastries, a light, flaky croissant looks innocent enough - no
sugar, no chocolate, mostly air. You are not
all that hungry but, at the sight of this crusty delight, a silent cry for satisfaction
rises from within.
perhaps the soft, blue sweater in the next window catches your imagination. What a perfect match with the blue skirt you bought on sale last week!
How well it would underline your blue eyes. You
could charge it for now, then cut down on something else.
old friend walks by, and the next temptation finds an open door with the first casual
question: "What's new?" Much has happened since last you talked.
Before you know it, you are describing your latest spiritual, financial, and
relational successes - I shared Christ with my neighbor," or "My son got
straight A's!" Wonderful! But who is
getting the credit? Who is exalted?
way to victory.
Immediately after the great moment of affirmation at the Jordan River, the Spirit
led Jesus into the wilderness. Then Jesus
found Himself alone in the mountainous wilderness, hungry after fasting forty days, and
vulnerable. Satan, always on the lookout for
such opportunities, appeared.
his most seductive voice, Satan whispered, "If You are the Son of God, command that
these stones become bread" (Matthew 4:3). Jesus
saw the deception and pulled out His sword: "It is written, 'Man shall not live on
bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"' (v. 4).
With a thrust of the Word, He won the spiritual battle in the physical arena.
the devil had other tricks. Satan brought
Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and declared, "If You are the Son of God, throw
Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning You"'
a moment Jesus could have demonstrated His heavenly status and authority to all the
skeptics in the world, but instead He stood firm and wielded the sword of the Word against
spiritual pride: "It is written 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the
test"' (v. 7). Jesus had no need to
prove His identity, His authority, nor His Father's love.
Trust in and obedience to the Word guaranteed that the far greater riches and
triumph of the eternal Kingdom were His forever.
from a high mountain, Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms and riches of the world and made an
offer: "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship
me" (v. 9). Again Jesus responded with
His sword, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him
only"' (v. 10). Never would He
compromise the relationship, purpose, and identity He shared with His Father for the
temporary emotional pleasure of worldly power and riches.
I'm not like Jesus," you might protest. "He
was so pure, so close to His Father, so different from me.
No wonder He resisted every temptation!"
forget that our King stripped Himself of all personal power and glory, so that His life
would demonstrate only what God can do through mere man:
He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and
faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the
people. (Hebrews 2:17)
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
of the Word.
From the beginning
of time, Jesus exercised the incredible power of His sword: "By the word of the Lord
the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host" (Psalm 33:6).
The same power that created the world will one day judge it.
Take a glimpse into the future: "He will strike the earth with the rod of His
mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4).
Isaiah knew that he could exercise that power.
Filled with the wonder of God's mighty presence, the prophet acknowledged, "He
has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has concealed me"
(Isaiah 49:2). Having heard his Lord, he
could affirm God's will and walk in the same triumph God now offers us.
the Word's effectiveness against both inner and outer foes:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
power of the Word operates in two directions. First,
it pierces through the soul, releasing discernment and truth.
It breaks the tentacles of the temptation, focuses the mind on God, and purifies
the intentions of the heart.
it shows Satan that his door of opportunity in you has closed.
By its piercing light, it forces him to flee.
The true nature of the Word baffles our finite minds.
Only by God's Spirit can we grasp, not only what the Word says, but also what it
represents: the very life and power of our King before Whom all darkness disappears.
key condition for this kind of understanding is faith - the kind of faith that takes,
trusts, and follows. Isaiah (55:11) tells us
that God's word "will not return empty," but if the word is not received by
faith, it has "no value" to the listener (Heb. 4:2).
then, can I stand secure in the faith that releases the power of the Word in me?
How do I “take” the sword of the
Spirit and make it effective?
start by making sure all the parts of the armor are secure.
Unlike me who sometimes rushes into the battle spiritually naked, Jesus enters His
battles fully dressed. Clothed in truth,
righteousness, and peace with His Father, He can hold the shield of faith with confidence.
Therefore, the power of the Word flows freely through His being.
all have seen examples of wielding the Word without the armor.
Remember the sharpness of a word spoken in judgment rather than love.
Like any sharp instrument in unfit hands, the words may cut and slash an innocent
victim, missing the real enemy entirely.
maintain a condition of readiness by storing the written Word in our hearts and by making
sure the armor is secured daily. When a
crisis occurs, we take hold of the appropriate Word, and speak it against any lie or
temptation Satan whispers into our thoughts. Then
the power of the written Word flows from God into our hearts and wins the battle.
by the Word.
fiercest battles have occurred in the area of worth. I had always been sensitive
and often plagued with feelings of failure, rejection, and loneliness.
Then,God showed me a verse that became my personal prayer and joy:
"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
I longed to be dead to my ego so that the vicissitudes of
earthly relationships could no longer move or crush me.
I pray for patience, God allows so many impatience-producing circumstances in my life that
I can't possibly handle them myself. My inadequacy forces me to yield to God and take hold of His life in
order to cope, then triumph.
same kind of process brings death to self. Again
and again I was forced, first to remember that I prayed to be made immovable in Him; and
second, to count on His purpose and live. My
personal point of view just emphasized the hurt and hopelessness, but the Word showed me
about His eternal perspective:
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but it if dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. (John 12:24-25)
I no longer count my self-life precious, nor hold on to it and try to save it by defending
or pitying myself, I gain His eternal life - a life not moved to despair by circumstances
or broken relationships.
above Scriptures became my daily swords. As I
took, trusted, and spoke them, they began to renew my mind and transform my thought
patterns from the temporal to the eternal. The
water of the Word's infinite insight was flushing out my own destructive view of self.
set of swords was needed to cancel out the thoughts of worthlessness sown by Satan.
For a month I meditated morning and night on Scriptures that affirmed God's
unending love for me: Psalm 139:1-18; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:32-29; 1 John 3:1-3.
That month changed my life. No longer could Satan torment me with his demeaning taunts, "You don't fit; you'll only fail. They'll never like you." Through the power of the Word, I learned to see God's constant unconditional love over and above the fickle acceptance of people. I learned to walk with confidence through "impossible" circumstances. And I learned to discern and silence the lies that disturbed my peace. After all, I am one with the King of the universe! His Word in my mouth triumphs over every enemy. What more could I ask?
Psalm 91. Make each verse your
own. Listen and hear how much He loves you.
In which verses does God show you the whole armor or its parts?
Jesus' prayer for you in John
17:13-23. According to
verse 13, what does God long to see in you? How has God
prepared and equipped you to live out His life and victory in this world?
See verses 14, 17, 21-23 and relate these to the armor.
Describe the link between the sword and the Word of God in each of the following:
Why is it possible for you to claim and use the authority and power of these swords?
What special event occurred just before the tempter approached Jesus?
Do you see in Jesus' experience a pattern for a sequence that sometimes takes place in
your own life? Explain.
List Jesus' three areas of temptation and relate each to a corresponding battle in your
How does Satan use God's Word? Remember that
he is called "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians II: 14) who knows and believes
the truth but refuses to follow (James 2:19).
Considering Satan's use of Scriptures for his evil purposes, why is it essential that we know the Word of God?
Satan engaged Jesus in a spiritual war. How
did Jesus win each battle?
In verse 13, what do you learn about Satan and his strategies?
2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
Describe the power of your weapon, the sword of the Spirit.
Recall a battle you have fought recently "according to the flesh." Compare it
with a battle you chose to fight God's way.
List the battlefields in your life and ask God to give you at least one sword from His
Word for each area of battle.
Nehemiah 4. God's work of
rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity progressed under
Nehemiah's leadership. Their enemies made repeated
attempts to hinder the completion of God's work just as Satan and his forces try to stop
God's work today.
Consider how each of the following questions relates to your
warfare and victory.
Describe the attack of the enemy in Nehemiah 4. What was their strategy and intent?
Having lost the first round, the enemies prepared a new battle plan (vv. 7-8).
Compare this plan with the strategy of Satan in his attempts to defeat you.
Give the two-fold response of the people (v. 9).
Then, what did the enemy do? (v. 11)
What extensive plan of action was adopted in order to carry on God's work successfully? (vv. 13-23)
As God's family, how can we apply Nehemiah's plan to our work of building up one another
into one mature body in Christ?
Share an instance when you helped a friend put on her armor piece by piece. How did you do it, and what specific sword did you suggest to her?
18. Thank God for being and providing all that you need to live triumphantly now and forever.
Wearing His Wardrobe
morning ask God to help you face the large and small battles of the day.
Prepare yourself each morning with the following steps.
Put on the armor.
Secure every part in its place, so that you are well covered by your King.
Review your supply of swords and
make sure you take with you those you are most likely to need.
to guide you.
Respond with the words of your
sword when you face lies,
accusations, discouragement or other temptations from Satan.
In a prolonged battle, don't give up!
Refuse to lay down your sword. Continue
to fight to the finish. You may need to call
a friend who can fight for and with you.
Write a note of thanks to your King
for making His victory effective through His Word, your Sword.
Tell others what He has accomplished for you.
love You, 0 Lord, my strength.
Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
I am saved from my enemies....
reached down from on high and took hold of me;
drew me out of deep waters.
rescued me from my powerful enemy,
my foes, who were too strong for me.
confronted me in the day of my disaster,
the Lord was my support.
brought me out into a spacious place;
rescued me because He delighted in me....
save the humble
bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
0 Lord, keep my lamp burning;
God turns my darkness into light.
Your help I can advance against a troop;
my God I can scale a wall.
for God, His way is perfect;
word of the Lord is flawless.
is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.
who is God besides the Lord?
who is the Rock except our God?
is God who arms me with strength
makes my way perfect ...
trains my hands for battle;
arms can bend a bow of bronze.
me Your shield of victory
Your right hand sustains me....
Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
be God my Savior!
I will raise You among the nations, 0 Lord;
I will sing praises to Your name
(Ps. 18:1-3, 6, 17-19,
Next: Chapter 8- Clothed with Praise