Enjoying the Journey
Our world and our churches are full of hurting people. Far too often those hurts have come from those who are supposed to be fighting in the same army. Friendly fire. The sword of another brother in arms.
There is a spiritual sword that we are commanded in Scripture to use. “The sword of the Spirit” is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This sword is not to be admired and held – it is to be used!
We use the sword of the Spirit on the enemy as Christ did when tempted by the Devil. And, yes, the Spirit uses it on us (Hebrews 4:12). It cuts deeply, severing from us those things that do not honor God. This sword both wounds and heals. God’s sword brings life.
But there is another sword that brings death. It is the sword of the flesh. It comes out in ugly words, unkind remarks, and unnecessary comments. Cutting words do so much damage.
It was in the middle of a dark night and difficult hour that Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a man in the Garden of Gethsemane. How quickly a place of prayer can become a place of fleshly responses! How easily we turn from the presence of Christ to trying to fix things on our own!
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Words of the flesh never accomplish the work of the Spirit.
And so the meek and gentle Christ turns to Peter and says, “Put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
It’s time to put up your sword.
Religious people are often quick to react. Religious flesh is still flesh. Flesh never becomes Spirit and Spirit never becomes flesh (John 3:6). My dad once said he had observed this principle at work in his own life: when he patiently responded he was following the Spirit, but when he rashly reacted he was following the flesh. O how often I have picked up a sword that should have stayed in its place!
A wise, older preacher once cautioned me: “The quickest way to take the hand of God off of your life and ministry is to speak against another one of His servants.” The only sword you should use is the Word of God, and it should only be used to hurt the enemy and help the family.
When you are tempted to strike out with your own words instead of relying on God’s Word, stop! Put up your sword. That’s what Jesus did.
Remember that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).
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