Two Swords, One Choice

Every day we are to put on the armor of God. It’s not something we put on once and have it on forever. No knight sleeps in their armor (unless they fell asleep while on lookout duty while the others in the camp slept; if they did this, shame on them 😉 ). We take off the armor every night when we lay our heads down to rest and are to put it back on when we wake up. We are also to pick up our shields of faith before heading out the door daily, for we will need it throughout the day. The enemy never rests in sending his volley of flaming arrows.

However, there is one thing we must decide after gathering all our armor along with our shield: which sword will we use today. Ephesians 6 tells us of the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and it’s an easy sword to recall for those of us who’ve written the verses of spiritual warfare on our hearts. Yet, there is another sword that is an option, but one we must resist the temptation to use.

“Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him Jesus replied, ‘Do what you came for, friend.’ Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 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’.”

Matthew 26:48-52

While the sword mentioned in these verses was a physical sword made of iron, the sword we are tempted to use is that of the flesh, one made of imperfect material. Jesus fought with the Sword of the Spirit, there is no doubt. Although Judas betrayed Him and He knew what Judas was up to, He still called him friend. On the other hand, Jesus’ companion reached for his physical sword (whether out of anger or defensive reasons, we aren’t told) with the intent of doing bodily harm and succeeded. If we notice, though, the servant who lost an ear was not given detail. Was this servant there because he wanted to see Jesus fall like Judas did or was he there simply because he was doing what was asked of him by his employers? Did the companion of Jesus know what was in this servant’s heart before he cut off this person’s ear? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to attack Judas the obvious betrayer?

Please do not get me wrong; I am in no way defending the deeds of the servant. I’m merely trying to explain that we don’t always know what is in someone’s heart and, sometimes, those who seem to oppose us are merely doing their jobs. For example, years ago when I worked in retail as a cashier there was a lady who I rang up but didn’t have all the cash on her to pay for her purchases. She wanted to run out to the car to get some change to cover the rest, but tried to take her purchases with her. I kindly informed her she couldn’t take the items out of the store until they were paid in full. For some reason, this set her off. She slung the bags on the counter and cussed me out all the way through the exit. When she came back from her vehicle with the rest of the money she needed, she was still cussing at me. I’m not sure what her day was like before she entered our store and I hadn’t had any intention of making her day worse, but by following the orders given to me I had tipped the iceberg.

I’ve been on the other side of it; I’ve had days when everything seems to go wrong and I had to run into a store to grab something quickly only to get more frustrated when I reach the checkout line. It was so tempting to use the sword of the flesh and take it out on the cashier, but I had to remember they weren’t my enemy, they weren’t targeting me in hopes of making my life worse by any means. They were simply doing their job and trying to follow the directions given to them upon employment. This doesn’t just apply to interacting with workers of restaurants and retail stores either. This applies to everyone.

Each parent(s) raises their child(ren) differently, each house has a different set of rules. How we act as adults stems from our childhood. If someone has ill-manners, whether it’s at the table or in social interaction, in some cases they don’t know any better. We are creatures of habit and the things we grow up around during our childhood are habitual things. In some cases we can grow out of it and want to change it. In others, we don’t see the point in changing that habit, and thus, continue to use it. Whatever the case, we are following directions from those who came before us. When we accept our salvation, we begin to change and adjust to the directions provided by our Father above. Jesus calls us to love one another, regardless of how the directions of life we were given differ from those around us.

So, when we go to leave our homes in the morning with our armor in place, we have a choice. Will we pick up the Sword of the Spirit and dedicate ourselves to sharing truth and love? Or will we select the sword of the flesh, not caring for how we treat the stranger we interact with today and allowing temptations to guide our actions?

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 12:18

“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.”

Hebrews 4:12

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