To wield the sword of the Spirit is to apply specific Biblical principles to specific situations.
Jesus gave us the perfect example of skillful and precise use of the sword of the Spirit. Following His baptism, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread'” (Matt. 4:1-3).
Satan was challenging Christ’s trust in His heavenly Father’s power and provisions. God had just announced that Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17). Would He now abandon Jesus to starve in the wilderness? Satan urged Jesus to take matters into His own hands and supply for His own needs. After all, Satan implied, doesn’t the Son of God deserve better than this?
Jesus might have acted on His own authority or demanded that God give Him what He deserved. Instead, He demonstrated His trust in God and rebuked Satan for his evil intents: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'” (v. 4). That’s a specific verse applied to a specific situation. Jesus responded the same way to Satan’s other temptations (vv. 7, 10).
Scripture gives many general principles for Christian living, but the sword of the Spirit is a precise weapon. We must learn to apply the appropriate biblical principles to any given situation. That’s what the psalmist meant when he wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. . . . Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:9, 11).
Do you know where to go in the Bible to defend yourself against sorrow, discouragement, apathy, lust, or pride? If not, you’re attempting to do spiritual battle unarmed.
Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for His precious Word and the study resources that are available to Bible students today.
• Renew your commitment to daily systematic Bible study.
For Further Study
Read Psalm 119:97-105. Is that your attitude toward Scripture?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187