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Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (NKJV)

If you are a defeated or inconsistent Christian, it’s because you’ve neglected your weapon, and your training.

When I was a Drill Sergeant in the Army, one of the most important things we taught new soldiers was how to use their weapons whether it was their rifle, hand grenades, machine guns, mines, tanks or even the weapon of last resort, a bayonet. Regardless of the weapon, the lesson was always the same:

  • have your weapon ready and available at all times
  • know everything that can be known about it
  • keep it clean and well maintained
  • be an expert in its use through relentless, intensive, daily training

Before the advent of modern weaponry, the sword was the weapon of choice for thousands of years. It came in many forms but all had the same purpose: to cut, to kill, to intimidate and to serve as protection.

It has always amazed me that the Scripture refers to the Bible as the “Sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6.17), serving as our weapon in the battle against temptation and sin. Stronger than titanium and sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, we use it to cut away, hack up, fend off and destroy sin (Heb 4.12; 1Sam 15.33). We wield it in both offensive and defensive techniques against attacks of evil (Eph 6.12; 6.17; Matt 4.4).

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (NKJV)

Writing about spiritual warfare, the Apostle Paul uses the greek term “machaira”. This was a short type of sword or dagger used for precision thrusts of attack and defensive movements by Roman soldiers of that time. It wasn’t the long, broad, heavy “Braveheart” type of sword that required huge sweeping motions with both hands, flailing away with intense abandon hoping to strike the enemy with one decisive blow.

God has not left his soldiers defenseless and unarmed. We have a weapon at our disposal that when properly used, cannot be defeated by any attack the Enemy can produce. But a weapon that is not used, used improperly, or that you don’t know how to use, is truly ineffective and powerless. Sin and Satan are the enemy. The Sword of the Spirit (the Bible) is our weapon. If you are being defeated by sin, you need a sword, and sword training. We would think someone foolish who would fight a battle without a weapon, and yet sadly, this is the reality of most Christian soldiers who war against Satan with weak or non-existant weaponry.

Be assured that our Enemy never casually
enters into battle unarmed or untrained.

Our Enemy is well armed, well trained and fights relentlessly. Do you wonder why you are defeated so easily? It is utterly futile for a soldier to go into battle:

  • without a weapon
  • with the wrong or inappropriate weapon
  • with a broken weapon
  • untrained in the use of the weapon

Humiliating defeat will be the result for the Christian who tries to fight a war against sin and Satan knowing very little or nothing about his weaponry; sorely neglecting weapons training; and worse, not even taking his weapons into battle with him. As Christians we must be expert, professional soldiers. We must well-trained in:

  • The need for intensive daily training
  • How our sword is made, and what it is made of
  • Keeping it with us and ready at all times
  • Care and maintenance of our weapon
  • Offensive and defensive techniques
  • Knowing our enemy
  • Plans of attack and defense

My fellow Soldiers of the Cross, the war against sin and evil is serious business.

What soldier would enter an ongoing,
bloody battle with the same casual attitude and neglect
displayed by the typical Christian soldier today?

There is a very disturbing trend in the our nation’s military today. Many people join the military not to do battle, but to get some sort of personal benefit from it such as a paycheck or an education. Their primary goal is not to serve, fight and defend; but to be employed, provided for and educated.

When a war starts (and I have witnessed this first hand), those who have joined for personal gain and not to “fight”, desperately search for any means possible to avoid the battlefield and attempt get out of the military by any means necessary. I lost track of the number of times I heard someone say “I didn’t join the military to go to war”. How absurd.

Sadly, this is the attitude of many Christians as well. Countless numbers join for the personal benefit they perceive: Jesus will fix all my problems; God will make me healthy and prosperous; my life will be happy and positive from now. “Why, Christianity is a really good deal. Okay, I’m in.”

It never crosses their mind, and often they are not told, that serving Christ means going to war against wickedness and it will cost you your life (but gain you eternity in Heaven). Certainly there is great personal reward and benefit; but they are the RESULT of giving up your life for the cause. “Benefits” should not be the primary objective of your enlistment into God’s army.

The primary objective of enlisting is to join the Army
that has already been declared victorious.

Everyone will enlist, like it or not. Signing up on the WINNING side is the issue.

Make no mistake my fellow soldiers, we are in a war. This is not dramatic language for the purpose of entertaining reading. We must learn to use the weapons of our warfare (2Cor 10.4) and engage in relentless, undistracted training (2Tim 2.4). Your effectiveness as a warrior depends on your commitment to training, and choosing the right weapon.

Tomorrow we will begin our “bootcamp”. Drill Sergeant Riggs will be your Instructor; Jesus Christ is the Commanding General; and God Almighty our Commander-in-Chief.

Father, You have told us plainly we are in a war, but we have not taken You seriously. We have neglected our weaponry and joined Your Army only for the benefits, but not for the war. Instill in us the understanding of the spiritual battle and the discipline to be well trained. In the Name of the Master Swordsman, Amen.

Contemplation: How’s your sword? Are you a fearsome warrior, or a child with a toy? What in your life has become more important than your training as a Godly warrior?

Application: There is no magic pill or trick to effective training. It takes time, commitment and effort. Determine today that you will set aside “training time” every day and nothing will cause you to neglect it.

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