The saber we’ve been entrusted to bear is not lifted with our hands, it is raised by our words. We speak the Word of God as a weapon heard long before it is ever seen. (p. 121)
Words. The longer I live, the more power I realize they have. Bill Hybels, in his book Axiom, emphatically says words matter. The book of James is full of teachings about the effects of words (the tongue). Whether our words are spoken or written, what we say impacts people, so it only seems logical to spend a full chapter on Sword Words.
You and I draw forth our swords by the words we choose to speak. We must intentionally speak as ambassadors of faith, hope, and His love. It is better to remain silent than to draw a sword at the wrong time or on the wrong person. If we don’t know what to say, we have the Word of God as our life scripts, and we are charged to wield it with grace. (Fencing Manual, p.103)
Scripture is our Word, our “life scripts.” Lisa describes Scripture as a mirror, “changing us so we reflect what is true and deflect what is false.” (FM, p.104) It’s important for us to be in Scripture, to know Scripture, so that its truths and power can permeate into our very being, shaping and molding us into a more Christ-like person.
I love 2 Corinthians 3:18 because it reminds us that we are reflections of Christ to anyone God puts in our paths. How will we reflect His glory? How will our spirit, soul, and body be shaped and transformed by the Word?
In my spirit, I hope to reflect Christ’s Spirit to others in such a way that when I speak or act, it’s Christ they see…not me. In my soul–that very deepest part of me that makes me me–I want to better respond to life’s challenges, not taking them personally but to God. And in my body, I am working toward carrying myself with God’s humble confidence, less worried about what others think than I am with reflecting to others what God calls me to. How about you?
To effectively reflect Christ in spirit, soul, and body, we need words that people can relate to, understand, identify with. Too often our worldly language is just too limited to convey all that God is trying to communicate to us and through us, so we have to look to God’s language, what Lisa calls the language of heaven. His Word.
His Word – memorized, prayed, spoken, declared – removes all “limits of the structure and motivation of human language.” (FM, p.106) And at no other time in history is God’s Word more accessible than it is now. It’s handy, ready to be used. I think what happens, though, is because it’s so easy to access we’ve quit working at the learning and memorizing of the Word. And, ironically, that limits our use of it.
Think of the Word as dueling pistols from those old western movies. If we have passages memorized, in the holster, ready to go at a moment’s notice, then we’re prepared for any attack, any challenge. But if we have to say, “wait while I open that app and search for the passage I need,” we either miss the opportunity or lose the duel.
We need God’s Word at the ready so we can speak positive, healing truths over the people and situations in our lives. What words of heaven can you be speaking now? Over your marriage? Your children? Your work?
We’re armed with heaven’s language – the most powerful, truth-packed words out there. So when we join with other sisters of the sword, we realize we have a common language. And that common language bonds and unites us. And as we have talked throughout this study, unity is what keeps families and churches strong and at their most powerful.
The danger for us is to let words divide us. Interestingly enough, the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues has become one of the more divisive topics in church circles. God gifts certain believers with the ability to speak heaven’s language (quite literally) for the building up of people and the kingdom, but too often we let that gift divide us. Is it real? Does everyone have to have it to be a believer?
1 Corinthians 14 does a great job of answering these questions, by the way. Scripture tells us gifts are to help unify and edify the Body of Christ, so guarding our churches and families from “picking sides” is important, as is leaving room for the Holy Spirit to work in and among us.
Speaking in tongues is but one example of words that can divide. I think of Sunday School classes and small groups who have divided over political views or theological debates. I think of families who have split because of differing values – spoken and unspoken. We’re human, with thoughts and wills, so having different views is natural, even important. The trick is to not allow differences to divide.
The beautiful thing is that God’s Word can be the healing balm for those potential fissures. His Words of truth, peace, love, hope, grace, and joy declared aloud can raise us above circumstances and arguments. Unifying our voices under His Word will allow us to intentionally speak “His flawless words” rather than spending so much energy and time speaking in our “flawed manners.” (FM, p. 111)
The Holy Spirit working in us gives us greater understanding of His Word, greater boldness in life circumstances, and greater potency with our words. Lisa pushes us to identify those things that tend to divide or alienate people and talk them through. She asks, what areas of the Word have you drawn back from? Not to get us to dig deeper into our trenches of opinion or fear or frustration, but to get conversation going. Can we talk about social issues? Can we talk about the role of women? Can we talk about who God is? Whatever causes us to “draw back,” we need to push into, trusting God’s Word to be the foundation of our faith, able to uphold under our scrutiny and questioning.
Just don’t stop there. Yes, think about faith — we need to know what we believe and why. We REALLY need to know what the Word teaches. But don’t stop at interpretation of the Word — take that understanding into full proclamation and declaration. That’s where heaven’s language is most powerful!
Will we ever fully grasp every meaning and nuance and teaching in God’s Word? No. Will we ever all agree on every interpretation of every passage? No. We will always be hindered by our human limitations, but that shouldn’t stop us from accessing the power of the Word.
I loved Lisa’s analogy to electricity here. We may not fully grasp how electricity works, but that doesn’t keep us from tapping into it and using it. She says we need to “flip the switch:”
As we act like our Father and echo His words, the sword finds its substance, just as surely as flipping on a switch makes power possible. …we need to use the Word of God to do things. (FM, p.113-4)
Maybe there are Scriptures you’ve been afraid to believe or promises that you’ve been afraid to trust. What do you need to flip the switch on and connect with today?
Lisa wisely admonishes us not to tap into only parts of the Word, pulling out pieces that fit our human purposes. There’s also that tendency in our social-media-driven world to dilute the Word into a few catch-phrases. We need The Word in its fullness. We need it in our holsters, ready at a moment’s notice. A catch phrase or a partial passage will never stand the test of time like the Word of God will.
God’s living Word is the origin of all the powerful, transformative truths. Ultimately, the Truth is not a theory to be debated; He is the Word made flesh: Jesus. (FM, p.117)
This last page of the chapter is so full of great truths, it’s hard not to quote it all! But here it is in a nutshell. God created us with His Word. His Word is written down for all the ages so that we would know God and know His will. The Word tells us Jesus is the Word made flesh. So we can look to Jesus – His life, His words, His ministry – as a model for how to live our lives. We don’t pull out our favorite passages to make Jesus into who we want Him to be; we look to the Whole of the Word to get an idea of how we can be more like Jesus.
Here’s the “so what:”
His will is often found in the very scriptures that burn in your heart. Lay hold of these and speak them out loud in love and boldness! As we begin to read and apply all the Word. …we will truly recognize what has been placed in our hands.
Let’s use God’s Word – our Sword!
Flexing my word muscles,