Sword of the Spirit

{{first_name}}, all I can say is WOW! On Tuesday I emailed you with a quick question about where you struggle in prayer. I was hoping to get a few emails, a couple of ideas as I get ready to launch something new… and I was blown away by the response! I had intended to answer each email I received, and I still plan to, but so very many of you were willing to share with me that I have not yet had the time to respond. THANK YOU for your time and your openness. (If you haven’t shared your prayer struggle with me yet, it’s not too late! Hit reply—I would love to hear from you!) 

While we’re on the topic of prayer, I do have something new coming, and I am super excited about it. And you will be the first to know about it! Keep your eyes open for an email from me early next week, and maybe also mark your calendar for November 15-19. I have an opportunity that I would love to share with you! More details coming soon……..! 

We now return to our regularly-scheduled programming.

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
—Ephesians 6:17 

And so we come to our final piece of armor. We have suited up, we are standing firm, we are protected by qualities like faith, righteousness, and salvation. And now Paul outlines our one and only piece of offensive armor: the sword of the Spirit. 

Honestly, I kind of didn’t want to write this email, because I feel like there is no way I can do it justice in a single email. Look at all of the key words here: sword, Spirit, word of God. This is big stuff. Which is encouraging, because it’s a reminder that the weapon God gives us is not some flimsy, hastily-prepared trinket that we hope might help to do us some good. No way. Nor is God relying on the strength of the soldier to make His weapon useful. The sword itself holds the power. The power of the Spirit. The power of the word of God. “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). 

Who among us hasn’t felt “pricked” by God’s Word at some point? But the good news is that it isn’t aimed at us. The sword of the Spirit obliterates sin. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). 

Jesus used the word of God to battle the enemy when he was in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11. By clinging to and quoting Scripture, Jesus resisted temptation when he was hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. What an example he has set for us to follow! 

But I cannot, cannot send you off to wield your sword without reminding you of how this “armor of God” passage begins: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (verse 12). While the sword of the Spirit is a powerful weapon, it is not meant to be used against each other. God’s word gives us strength and power to stand firm and fight against the enemy, but people are not the enemy. When we spew Bible verses at other people in an effort to win an argument or shame them, we are not advancing the kingdom of God. 

So how do we wield the sword? By investing in God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Meditate on it. Let it pierce your heart first and destroy the strongholds in your own life. Charles Spurgeon said it best: “Neither may you so much as dream of winning the battle by accident. No man was ever holy by a happy chance. Infinite damage may be done by carelessness; but no man ever won life's battle by it.” 

We will not stand firm by accident, friends. Only through diligently seeking Christ will we be prepared for battle. And the battles will come. 

OK, listen, I have so much more to say, but I’ll save it for the Battle Prep section. Will you join me there? 

And don’t forget, keep your eyes open for an email from me early next week. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on!!!

Do you have a friend who could use some encouragement from God's Word? Please pass this along so we can build up the soldiers in God's army!

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Battle Prep 

With each piece of armor we cover, I’ll include some extra Bible passages for you to study and thoughts for you to think through, journal about, and/or discuss with others.

This week, let’s break down the phrase “sword of the Spirit.” What is the significance of God’s Word being equated to a sword? And why is it connected to the Holy Spirit? 



  • Leviticus 26:23-25
  • Deuteronomy 32:40-42
  • Deuteronomy 33:29
  • Isaiah 34:5-6
  • Isaiah 66:16
  • Jeremiah 47:6
  • Ezekiel 21:1-17 

Each of these passages talk about God wielding His sword in the Old Testament. What do you notice about how God uses His sword here? When and why does He use it? Can we make any connections between God’s sword in the Old Testament and the “sword of the Spirit” in the New Testament? (This may be easier to answer after you read the New Testament verses below.) 


  • Matthew 10:34
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4
  • Hebrews 4:12 

How is the idea of the sword used in the New Testament? What parallels do you see to the Old Testament verse? What differences? 



The Bible (God’s word) is the sword of the Spirit. Why does Paul make this connection between the Holy Spirit and God’s Word? Let’s look at a few Scriptures:

  • 2 Samuel 23:2
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 2 Peter 1:21 

What do these verses tell us about the connection between the Spirit and God’s Word? I especially love the verse in 2 Timothy. Some translations say that Scripture is “breathed out by God” or “God-breathed,” which is especially meaningful because the Hebrew word ruach means “wind” or “breath” and is also used for the Spirit of God.

How are you preparing your heart for Christmas?

I can't believe it's time to start thinking about Christmas, but here we are! Before we get completely caught up in the chaos of the season, let's spend some time intentionally preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ. Check out my Advent devotional, Finding Jesus, available in paperback, Kindle, and PDF formats!