The Armor of God
We are finishing the third installment of the Armor of God
1. Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shoes of Peace
4.Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
Verse 17 interprets itself as to the meaning of the sword of the Spirit—it is the Word of God. While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!
The sword was the most common weapon in battle. Indeed, the word “sword” appears 449 times in Scripture. The other armaments in God’s arsenal are defensive in nature, but the sword is primarily an offensive weapon. When Jesus said, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword” He was not saying that He, the Prince of peace, had come to start wars (Matthew 10:34-39(NLT)34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.36Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Rather, He was pointing out that the sword of God’s Word has a dividing effect. This sword is depicted as having two edges: (Hebrews 4:12(NLT)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.) Since every Christian is in the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will be an offensive weapon we use to “destroy strongholds” of error and falsehood
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT)4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,).
The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a solider to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection and offensive strikes. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit “which is the word of God.”
Ancient soldiers also used their swords for cooking, splitting kindling, and for cutting the ropes that bound their captives to set them free. Likewise, the Word of God is a practical tool for every area of life, as well as in fighting the devil. In Bible times, there was no stainless steel. A sword unused became rusty, dull, and pitted. Swords were kept clean by frequent use or by honing them against a stone (the Rock of Ages) or another soldier’s sword. (Proverbs 27:17(NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.)
Likewise, when we study the Bible with others, our skill in the Word is sharpened. A soldier traveling in enemy territory never left his sword out of reach. We should never leave our sword(the Word of God) out of our reach. The purpose of the Word of the Spirit—the Bible—is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan our enemy. The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give them spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the Will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.
7.Pray in the Spirit
In verse 18, we are told to pray in the Spirit (that is, with the mind of Christ, with His heart and His priorities) in addition to wearing the full armor of God. We cannot neglect prayer, as it is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without prayer, without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile. The full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer—are the tools God has given us, through which we can be spiritually victorious, overcoming Satan’s attacks and temptations.
Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (HCSB)What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in other languages more than all of you; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than 10,000 words in another language.
Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Jude 20 (HCSB) “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit?
The Greek word translated “pray in” (proseuchomai) can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
To pray in the flesh (the old nature) is to fail. To pray in the Spirit is to succeed. The early church accomplished what it did because it advanced on its knees, mighty in power because they were mighty in prayer. Sometimes we don’t want to pray because our flesh doesn’t like it.
Romans 8:5 (HCSB)For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.
Do you wonder sometimes why you don’t want to pray? Look in verse 7 and see how this works out in your own life:
We might as well admit it: when we don’t pray, it’s because we don’t want to pray. Why is it we don’t want to pray? Because the flesh doesn’t like it. When we don’t want to pray, what does that tell us? That we’re carnally minded rather than spiritually minded. The carnal mind has no more desire to pray than your dog has to watch opera.
There’s something in us, in our flesh (our old nature), that not only doesn’t want to pray, it has a deep-seated feeling of dislike toward prayer. We need to stop trying to cover it up and admit that the reason we don’t pray when we don’t pray is we don’t want to pray. And the reason we don’t want to pray is we’re in the flesh rather than the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will activate your will in prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you to pray.
For the Spirit-filled person it becomes so natural to say, “Abba Father,” to worship and praise Him. When the Holy Spirit is in you and you’re yielded to the Spirit, not walking in the flesh, it is as normal as breathing to pray. This is the answer to the problem of a lack of appetite for prayer. The Holy Spirit activates our will in prayer.
Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.”
1 Corinthians 14:14(HCSB) For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter
(1 Corinthians 14:27 (HCSB)If any person speaks in another language, there should be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and someone must interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, that person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God.).
In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.
- Prayer is not making God a heavenly bellhop to wait on you and give you your fleshly desires. Prayer is God’s plan to make you like Jesus.
- The devil doesn’t want you to pray. The devil will do all that he can do to keep you from praying. All of the artillery of Hell is leveled against you when you pray. Why? Because if you pray, you can beat him every time.
- If you pray in the flesh, you’re no match for Satan. But when you pray in the Spirit, “if God be for you, who can be against you?”
- You have a Father to pray to. You have a Savior to pray through. You have a Spirit to pray in. Let’s be about our Father’s business, praying in the Spirit.