Sword of Light
This week we pick up two more swords. The first is the Sword of Light. Our challenge and promise:
Our Jesus is the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, and when we see Him, we will be like Him. (Fencing Manual, p. 132)
The dark tunnel is such a great analogy to the many experiences life brings us, and how appropriate to think of Jesus as the light at the end of that tunnel — our Hope! The Bible challenges us to be the light to the world, so today we’ll talk about how to use The Word, our God Sword, and be like Christ.
Lisa takes us through discussion of two important things we need to be good light bearers: discernment and intercession.
DISCERNMENT is the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Romans 16:19 says we are to “be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” In other words, we need to know both but not enter into those evil things…stay innocent. We talked about how easy it is to put our heads in the sand when it comes to knowing of evil things, but we aren’t to hide. We have to be aware of the evils that lurk so that we won’t fall into their traps, so that we might do something about them.
Throughout the New Testament, we find instructions to beware, take heed, look to themselves, be on guard, be alert, and give careful attention to God’s Word and our doctrine…. The worst response is to react in fear. Instead of being fearful, let’s become experts in what is good. (FM, p.134)
2 Timothy 1:7 gives us three tools to use against the spirit of fear: power, love, and a sound mind (some versions say self-control). When we use these three tools, we are better able to discern and use the Word of God, the Sword of Light, appropriately!
Lisa wisely reminds us that the first place discernment needs to happen is within our own hearts. One reason is that if our hearts are not full of all that is good and right and true, it will be too easy for us to pick up the sword and hurt people. And that is not using the Sword of Light appropriately. Another reason is to be sure we’re fighting the right battles.
In my own parenting I learned early on to choose my battles. What battles were worth the fight, the energy, the emotion? When I think back to those early years, I cringe when I think about how many “battles” I fought out of fear for my young children. My heart was full of fear so I fought things I didn’t need to. What I hope I’m learning now is to seek God to discern what battles are God’s and what battles He is calling me to enter into on behalf of my children. And when the battle is God’s, I need to hit my knees and give it to Him, trusting Him.
Discernment gives us a knowledge, and Lisa reminds us that we need heaven’s insight so we’ll know what to do with it!
Before she leads us into discussion about the three tools used to overcome fear, Lisa reminds us that Satan’s goal is to divide us from God and that he often does this by isolating us from others…often through guilt, judgment, shame, and suspicion.
LOVE as described in Philippians 1:9 is flanked by knowledge and discernment. Love helps us discern our motives for action. Love would have us act out of concern for others, not for our own benefit.
Hate lives in the dark and therefore speaks and does dark things. Love lives in the light and therefore speaks and does the objective of light. (FM, p.137)
POWER and authority are in God and come from God, and because we are His…He has given us this power, this authority. (see 1 Peter 2:9) Remembering that we are called to use our Sword of Light, do we honor God by backing away from our authority and power?
SOUND MIND means we have a solid, peaceful, truth-filled, complete mind — filled with Christ. “Only God could give us His inward perspective when we are surrounded by a world that is so broken, unhealthy, and diseased in all of its reasoning process.” (FM, p.138) What a gift! The Word also promises that His Word will RENEW our minds! What do you need God to do in your mind?
I’m blessed to be part of a teaching team at church in a class that teaches tenets of our faith and the work of the Spirit, including spiritual gifts. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that this great list of gifts gives us some understanding of how we should all be living — we should all be givers, encouragers, prayers, helpers, and teachers of the Word whether or not that’s our gift or calling. (I know we all can’t be healers or speak in tongues). We will all be gifted in at least one of these areas, but that doesn’t let us off the hook to work toward being more evangelistic, for instance. It just means we’ll have to work a little harder.
Discernment works that way. Those who are gifted, discern more naturally, more easily. But that doesn’t mean those of us who aren’t gifted should excuse ourselves from discerning God’s will. We’ll just have to be more intentional, work a little harder at it! Where do you practice discernment?
We had lots of discussion about the fine line between “discerning” and “judging.” A great conversation to have because if we don’t think this through, we’ll start injuring people with our Sword of Light.
Discernment comes with maturity, which is ultimately about our approach to life. (FM, p.13)
Maturity is not so much about age as spiritual maturity…where we are with God. Discernment is NOT about labeling or judging. It’s more about knowing. It’s a God-given insight used FOR God’s people, His kingdom. There is a role to play and part of discernment is discovering what we DO with what we KNOW.
Two points Lisa makes about discernment is a) being aware of how our world can distort things, calling evil good and good evil, and b) using our own dark experiences (that have been redeemed by God) to help someone else. Remember, God doesn’t waste any experience, so what was meant for evil God can use for good. What are the areas of darkness in your past that might prove to be an awesome bonfire in someone else’s future?
INTERCESSION does mean prayer, but what we’ve learned this week is that it also means to intervene, mediate, negotiate, arbitrate, and arise. To intercede is to take the action step of discernment. When we KNOW, we can DO…we can intercede on someone’s behalf.
Lisa points out that too often we limit the role of intercession to individuals and prayer (it’s that spiritual gift excuse again… oh, SHE has the gift of intercession, so I’ll let her do this…).
Intercession is for all of us who carry the light! Jesus is our greatest example of an intercessor. He would discern someone’s heart, someone’s need, then move into action. Give your favorite example of Jesus as an intercessor.
Lisa ends Chapter 10 with a great challenge. She reminds us that love is the foundation of true discernment, so using 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, she asks us to take a point of love (ie: love doesn’t react; it is patient and kind) a week for seven weeks, applying it to our everyday lives throughout the week. We can accomplish this by memorizing that truth, speaking it aloud, and DOING IT. Take up the challenge with us? (see FM p. 145)
Sword of Song
Chapter 11, Lisa says, is the shortest of the book, but one of the most important. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing brings peace, helps us enter into the presence of God like a song. And what I’ve learned from this chapter is it has as much to do with the MUSIC itself as the lyrics.
She uses the “flamberge” sword as a visual for our Sword of Song because it has wavy edges, much like the sound waves a song creates. When we sing in worship of God, the very airwaves begin to vibrate, and like the actual flamberge sword, the enemy’s grip shakes loose.
The Word of God declared boldly, as it is sung in adoration and danced to in abandonment before our King, may be the most powerful battle move we can make. (FM, p.149)
Here’s the beauty of this. It doesn’t matter the song, the style, the genre. What matters is the heart of the singer, the dancer, the musician.
We talked about how a song that is sung with abandonment can accomplish things like giving God glory, telling God-truths, praising and thanking God, and empowering the hearers of the song. Lisa points us to Moses’ song of victory in Exodus 15.
Our worship of God through song needs moments of pause, of holy reverence. Selahs are the tool of songs that give us those moments of reflection. We need not rush over them; we need to lean into them, allowing God to speak in them.
How you sing is just as important as what you sing. I am not referring to the quality of your voice but to the passion of your approach. There is a time to sing with joy and a time to sing with sadness, but there is never a time to sing disengaged. (FM, p.152)
According to Isaiah 30:29-32, what can happen when we sing with joy and unison with instruments?
What are some practical ways you can weave more of the Sword of Song into your everyday world?
I love that Lisa reminds us that people are not our audience. GOD IS.
If you ever feel trapped by the world, your circumstances…if you ever feel like you’re drowning in the overwhelming thing we call life…if you ever feel like peace will never again find you, wield your Sword of Song. Put in a praise CD, turn on Christian radio — it doesn’t matter if the song is old or new, gospel or rap. If the song resonates in your soul and your heart releases to its God-truths with passion and abandonment, watch its power over your life and the life of others!
Basking in His light, dancing to His song,