I’ll start by saying I love Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The old animated film with the distinctly Disney music and distinctly Disney horses. It has some interesting spiritual depth if you look for it.
One of my favorite parts is the final battle. Right before it starts, the good fairies gift Prince Phillip with an enchanted Shield of Virtue and a Sword of Truth.
The Shield of Virtue is one amazing shield. From all appearances, it weighs next to nothing. It’s strong enough to take blows from swords and battle-axes without a single ding or scratch. It handles large falling rocks as if they’re pebbles rolling off its face. Quite the piece of armor.
And virtue is a shield–to protect you from the consequences of sin.
If you’re a teetotaler, you’ll never find yourself facing the consequences of drunkenness.
If you don’t steal, you’re less likely to end up in jail.
If you shun anger, you’re far less likely to need to repair broken relationships constantly.
If you’re humble, you’ll probably have stronger friendships because pride can’t keep you from admitting when you’re wrong.
If you follow God’s rules for marriage, you’re much less likely to find yourself a single parent.
And, one of my favorites, if you don’t commit sin, Satan has nothing to shame you for.
All God’s instructions are for a reason. If you choose virtue–that is, following God’s commands–it will protect you from sin and its consequences.
To get back to Prince Phillip’s battle, the witch Maleficent is determined that Phillip shall not rescue the princess. So she casts a spell of fierce briars around the castle where Princess Aurora sleeps. But with the Shield of Virtue to protect himself, he uses the Sword of Truth to hack through the hedge.
The Sword of Truth is a weapon any noble might covet. It’s straight, strong, two-edged, and deadly-sharp. The briars can’t hope to stop it.
And Truth is a sword.
Ephesians 6:17 bids us take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In John 17:17, as Jesus prays to His Father, He says, “Your word is truth.” (emphasis mine)
So I don’t think it’s too far a stretch to say that the the Word of God, which we typically term the Holy Bible, is our Sword of Truth.
And God’s Word is certainly our best defense against Satan’s attacks.
When we’re tempted to explode in anger, we can be strengthened by this: “Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice…” and instead “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” (see Colossians 3:8, 12)
When we’re about to worry ourselves sick, we can remember to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
When we’re feeling proud, we can remember “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (see James 4:6), hopefully before we make a fool of ourselves.
When we’re tempted to sacrifice our bodies’ purity, we can remember to “Flee sexual immorality…. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (see 1 Corinthians 6:18, 20; emphasis mine)
If you look for the key to victory over your fight, I promise you’ll find it in the Word of God. Even subjects you think the Bible would never address are in there if you go hunting with God’s Spirit for a Guide.
Now I get to my favorite part. When Prince Phillip breaks through the briar hedge, Maleficent herself comes to fight him, saying, “Now you shall deal with me and all the powers of hell!”
And she changes herself into a dragon. A huge dragon whose fiery breath devours the ground in front of Phillip’s feet. Her mouth is big enough to hold the prince and several more, if she wanted. But Phillip doesn’t back down. He attacks whenever her snout comes near enough.
And the Sword of Truth pains the dragon, even through its stout scales. So she sets her hedge on fire and drives Prince Phillip up a cliff toward a precipice. He’s still defending himself with the Shield of Virtue, but she finally blasts a breath of fire so strong it tears the shield from his grip and hurls it over the cliff.
So the good fairies give the Sword of Truth a dose of extra power, and Phillip casts the weapon with all his strength into the dragon’s breast. (You didn’t know a great-sword could become a javelin, did you?)
My friends, that’s how strong the Sword of Truth is.
Even when the devil strips away your shield of virtue;
When you have fallen into Satan’s snares and he laughs as you’re helpless against “all the powers of hell”;
Or when you dabbled in Satan’s pleasures and now you’re covered in his filth, ashamed to be seen by your God;
The Truth can still conquer. It will set you free.
It doesn’t matter how low Satan drags you. Call on Jesus, then pick up the Scripture and let Christ help you whirl the Sword of Truth in Satan’s face.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Satan can’t keep you down if Jesus is on your side. He’ll try, but we don’t have to let him.
When Phillip’s sword pierces the dragon, she cries out and topples over the cliff. Phillip peers over to see her dead at the bottom.
Unfortunately, the devil doesn’t die as easily as that. God has given him permission to wreak havoc for a long while yet. But Satan will flee.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Unlike Phillip’s irretrievable shield, our Shields of Virtue can be restored to us by Jesus, the only Manufacturer of true Shields of Virtue, so to speak. Even if Satan somehow steals our Shield for a time, the Sword of Truth is still powerful. All we have to do is use it.
P.S. Here’s the clip of Phillip’s fight from Sleeping Beauty if you’d like to see it.