Another BB collided as I started typing this blog post with the boxcar and railroad track intro. It never occurred to me until my fingers hit my laptop keyboard: my maternal grandfather was a railroad man right up until his death. I was only five months old when he died so I never knew my Grandfather Lowe. But I strongly suspect he knows all about me, heaven-side. I rather think the mention of boxcars caught his attention. Who knows but that he tugged the sleeve of God and said, “That’s my granddaughter writing for You! Can I sit in as railroad consultant?!”
Since we serve a God who invented the Generations, I personally think He gets a kick out of surprising us with one of those “to a thousand generations” blessings from time to time. This is one of those times for me as I consider how the Holy Spirit inspired the analogy of laying down refurbished, replaced, repaired, and re-Truthed tracks of understanding of His Word. The connection in the spirit with one intimately acquainted in his lifetime with railroad tracks blesses me. Even more, the connection of heritage with the grandfather I never knew. Do you think such things matter to God? I do. Oh, how I do. The weavings in His generational storylines of our lives is incredible. For God uses the things of the natural to bring forth the things of the Spirit. And sometimes he takes a grandfather and granddaughter on a Holy Spirit boxcar ride – together.
Now, let’s get back on track!
When last I signed off, there was one more item in the Apparel of Christ of Ephesians 6 that had not yet been highlighted: the sword of the Spirit. I have a story to tell but first…
- He is the sword of the Spirit because that sword is the Word of God, and Christ is the Word.
Hebrews 4:12 describes His scalpel-like sharpness this way: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (NASB)
You need only to read the Gospels to see narrated Christ’s life operating as the Word of God. One glance at someone and they knew He had read their mail. One spoken word of Truth and the jig was up. He was a walking scalpel of men’s hearts. But He had an all-consuming purpose: to injure only to draw out the poison killing men’s souls and then to bind up their wounds and heal them. (Hosea 6:1)
To put on Christ the sword (I love how the ‘word’ is embedded in the ‘sword’) is to be cloaked in the living, active Word of God whose suitability in any given situation is full and complete, through and through.
My husband is a biblical counselor. In counseling sessions he often invites the client to engage in listening prayer. It is remarkable how the Holy Spirit dialogues with you when you invite Him to!
A few years back he had a male client who shared the following amazing exchange taking place during one such invitation. I do believe it was a literal “eyes of his understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18) as he described the picture that played out in his mind’s eye…
The client was holding a rolled-up scroll in his hand. He described it as looking like ‘parchment.’ He didn’t think too much about it until he was told by the Holy Spirit, “Look again.” He looked again and this time he saw it had writing on it – the scripture Colossians 10:4-5:
4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
“Well, that was nice but why am I holding a scroll?” he thought. Then the directive, “Try it out.” It turned into a sword in his hand, but not a sword as we know a sword. This one was alive! It could extend and retract, its extension reaching to the farthest galaxy. The client knew its reach because he tried it, while all this took place as Holy Spirit engaged him in this keen and very real spiritual object lesson.
More personal and close up, this sword of the Word of God had an exquisite edge that was sharp enough to trim his toenails.
That, my friends, is some sword of the Spirit; the Word of God; Christ Jesus the Word.
The other pieces of Christ our Apparel – the helmet, the shoes, the shield, the belt and the breastplate – are essential defensive pieces of armor. Christ’s attributes are vital in our life if we are to “overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” (Revelation 12:11) Otherwise, this world and the enemy will try to wear us out and take us down.
But the sword… it is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17) that is the critical offensive weapon we must learn to grip and hold tightly to – being clothed with Christ the Word.
Sometimes we would rather steer a wide berth around something that is sharp enough to divide spirit and soul. Something that is well able to judge even the thoughts and intentions of our heart. Frankly, that scares us. But remind your heart and your mind, dear reader, that He came to give us life, so that which is death to our life must go.
Right down to our toenails…
Gracefully Free & Grandpa Lowe