Pick Up Your Sword

Pick Up Your Sword

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

To be honest, we should all live with integrity in life but seldom do. I noticed on my kid’s Instagram that people would post a picture with the caption, “To be honest…” The purpose is to get “likes” and “comments” that somehow is an approval of status. I don’t get it but when I read the replies it made me wonder, what if were honest all the time? What if when we were tired and worn out, there was a way to express our vulnerability with friends and be lifted up? What about when we want to give up? If we could trust others enough to help us up rather than run us over? Well, I decided to share a “to be honest” with you today with the hope that if you stumbled or fell to a crawl spiritually, that you will not feel alone. I dropped my sword. I don’t think I threw it down but I do believe it fell from my tired, worn out and weary hands crashing on the floor. I never intended to give up, but rather I was give out as we say in the South. I fought the good fight of faith and we won. Victory was precious and sweet. Our son is finally in remission after battling cancer five times. But instead of jubilantly celebrating on victory lane, I found myself quietly praying and asking for healing and restoration for physical, mental, emotional and worst of all spiritual exhaustion. It felt like I crawled the last mile on my hands and knees just managing to touch the finish line.

 

I am not sure exactly when or where I dropped it. I was still spending time with the Lord but not experiencing much of His Power and Presence in my life. I knew there was a problem but just didn’t have the energy or inclination to do much about it. I kept coming back to it, looking at it, but then sadly walking away I just didn’t have it in me. Our faith is worth fighting for. It is a constant in our life that the enemy would like nothing more than to strip us in the fight. We can win and still somehow give up. The good fight of faith is meant to completely drain us so His Power can completely fill us more and more producing all the promises and potential that is hidden within waiting to develop and grow into purpose. It all has meaning. I am sure there are many athletes who want to throw in the towel and wonder after a particularly hard game, the next morning when everything hurts, is it really worth it. For those who are running the race of faith working on developing endurance chasing a hope that never leads to disappointment, yes it is absolutely worth it. Did you drop your sword along the way, too? The Lord is asking you to pick it up today.

 

Leviticus 26:6-12 (NIV)

“‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.’”

 

The power of our sword is evident in this passage. The fact that there is warfare to be engaged in is inevitable. If you are not fighting, then you are not opposing anything. In other words, if the enemy is trying to destroy you it is because you do not pose a threat to his kingdom. This is exactly why I believe that I let my sword go. Humanly, I just couldn’t swing it again. His attack was the toughest thing I had ever been through in my life and the thought of fighting against principalities and darkness the rest of my life not at all appealing. I want the Favor of God in my life. I want to honor Jesus Christ and make it clear that I belong to His Kingdom. I am going to have to fight for my faith. When I choose to do so, each swing of that sword has supernatural ability if I will just pick it up and use it. It will produce peace in my life. It gives me courage. It makes my life fruitful and prosperous. Lord, give me the strength to carry Your Sword.

 

Joshua 5:13-16 (NIV)

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Friend or foe? Joshua asked the angel of the Lord who was the commander of the Lord’s Army – are you for us or against us essentially. He said, “Neither.” Say what? What does that mean? The Army of the Lord fights for God. God’s Purpose and Plan dictates its mission. We simply choose what side we are on. We fight for the Lord. Or we fight for the enemy. Everyone has trouble with this at some point in life. There is no gray area. There are only two sides you are for Him or against Him. We must pick as side. When we choose the Lord’s Side, it is a holy place. We are not given a tangible arsenal of weaponry, but empowered by the Holy Spirit. Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy. If God be for us, who can stand against us.

 

Who are you fighting for today? What are you fighting for? The angel met Joshua right before Jericho. The Lord was definitely with His People, and they were with Him that day in total obedience which led to the walls falling flat and all the blessings of Leviticus 26 coming to pass. The Lord always precedes His People in battle. He prepares the way right down to the blessing. (Joshua 24:11-12) We must simply decide who we will serve. (Joshua 24:14-15)

 

I Samuel 13:19-22 (NIV)

Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads. So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

 

The Israelites were at a huge disadvantage and the Philistines were sure to overtake them. They had the market on weapons. There was no blacksmiths to forge or sharpen their weapons. Even getting their farm equipment serviced was highway robbery, all part of a plot to keep them helpless and unarmed. So no one had a sword or spear except Jonathon and Saul. At this point, Saul was losing it. But Jonathon stepped out on faith with his armor bearer (I Samuel 14:1-14) killing about 20 Philistines. But then the Lord stepped in and there was an earthquake. (I Samuel 14:15-16) which started a sequence of events that led to the Israelites victory over the enemy. The Sword of God’s Spirit is not a tangible weapon but a mighty force. Look at Jonathon’s best friend, David, who killed the enemy with a sling shot then cutting off his head with the man’s sword. The Lord goes before us. He fights for us. He hands us victory in response to our faith.

 

Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV)

 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

 

I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus brought us the Sword of the Spirit with strong intent. We are given a weapon to do war. We are empowered with purpose to be used to tell the world of our soon coming King. It is to break chains and rebuke the enemy. And if you think for a minute that he is going down without a fight, do not be deceived. He has nothing to lose. He knows the end. Do you? The peace that we are after is the one in our heart. The mindset and heartfelt desire to be with Jesus forever and do whatever it takes to get there taking every person along who will go. If our purpose in praying and seeking the Lord is only to make this life better, we missed it completely. This world is dying. The earth is cold and overrun with sin and depravity. You are not going to change that. You were not called to. You were called to seek eternal life and share it with others.

 

Matthew 26:51-54 (NIV)

With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.  “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

Is it safe to say that we don’t always get it? What this life is about? Where we are going? How perfect our God is? How powerful His Son is? Jesus doesn’t need us to fight His Battles. He allows us to secure His Victory and experience His Blessings for our benefit. It’s called faith. Faith lead us to hope that never will disappoint us. We have to learn to endure. We must build strong character and live lives of true integrity that are forged in taking His Kingdom by force. Don’t be afraid; be aware. Stop fighting for your life and release it. I have the potential to walk in victory every day. Once the Scriptures were fulfilled and Jesus released His Spirit, everything changed for us. We became full of the power that can overtake darkness, overthrow the enemy and win every battle. Will we use it? Oh, it’s time to pick up our swords again.

 

Ephesians 6:16-18 (NIV)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 Lord’s people.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

 

Well, I sad to admit that for one solid year, I walked around that sword and looked at it. I wanted to pick it up and start fighting again. I just didn’t think I had it in me. I prayed, fasted, and believed for four years. Day and night, doing everything to find just a little more faith to pack the wounds of that day. Anything to just get a little closer to my Lord for a little more reassurance. When you cannot fight with your hands anymore, it is a battle for faith to trust Him more. We made it, but the sword slid from my hands. I was numb. Battle weary. Tired. I was afraid that the next battle would be more than I could stand, that my faith wouldn’t be big enough. What if I lose? I felt like Elijah after he killed almost 1,000 false prophets but we retreated to a cave when Jezebel threatened his life. Many times, the Lord would ask me, “Lori, what are you doing here?” He would comfort me as by His Grace, Mercy and Longsuffering Love for my insufferable humanity waited for me to pick my sword back up.

 

It just takes one word from God to dictate the outcome of every battle in life. Just one word or statement given by Jesus and it doesn’t matter what happens around us it is settled. That is why the angel of the Lord told Joshua that he was neither friend nor foe. We make the choice which side we are on. The angel of the Lord was not on man’s side or the enemy’s side. He is on the Lord’s Side. The Word of the Lord settled it for him as it should for us. When we engage in battle and swing that sword, it not only takes out the enemy but the blade cuts into our heart, too exposing anything including thoughts and attitudes contrary to God so even when we win a part of us unworthy of God that has the potential to separate us from Jesus is offered up. His Love washes it with His Blood and rinses it in His Word changing us from the inside out. Faith shields our heart. It reminds us that even though the process of refinement is tough, it will be worth it when we endure to the end. The helmet of salvation is our confidence that the hope we have will never disappoint us as we battle our way through life. We have the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God…we have Jesus in us. He wants to win our love completely. We must use our Sword. We must pray. We must love. We must fight the good fight of faith. We must be alert and consciously aware of the enemy whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy us every single day. We are more than conquerors. Conquerors in Jesus Name. Conquerors carry swords. Thank you Jesus that I am more than a conqueror today and that nothing can separate me from your Love. Thank you for continually offering me Your Sword until I was ready to pick it up again.

 

Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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