Last time I wrote, I talked about the Sword of Truth, God’s word. Today I’m going to share four ways that I unsheath that Sword in my own life. I’m no expert, mind you, but these methods bless me.
When I use them. That’s the catch. I have to actually do it. And, short-sighted human that I am, I neglect them. So I’m preaching to myself today.
If you don’t draw the Sword every day, you can’t expect to get comfortable and skillful with it. So, every day, open the Bible and dig. I like to read a chapter and see which verse or which concept impresses me most. Some days I have to look harder than others. Then I write down the verse, as well as my thoughts on it.
Somehow writing it out makes my thoughts clearer in my head. This also gives me something to read later and think, “Oh, yeah, it was so neat when the Lord showed me that!”
Some days I do Bible study “homework” for the Bible class I’m part of at my church. I have a workbook that gives Scripture passages to read, followed by questions and meditations about the passage. The important thing is to actually have a decent helping of Scripture in there. Devotions that give one verse and a little meditation are fine, but they’re not unsheathing your Sword; they are notes on Sword-technique, so to speak.
Sometimes on Sundays, I only unsheath my Sword at the two church services. I’m not sure if that is perfectly sound practice, but it sometimes happens that way.
If you can stop a wrong thought or motive in your mind before it comes out, you’re fighting well. So memorize some verses to divert your mind when it starts wandering down the wrong trails.
Do I always do this? No. But when I remember to wield the Sword this way, it is very effective.
Read for Recreation
You know those times when you haven’t read the Bible yet today, but you’re so tired you think you couldn’t possibly get anything out of Bible study? Or you just feel “down” and you don’t want to read the Bible? Just read it. Not to mine some deep theological truth you’ve never found before. But because there is nothing more wholesome you could read.
Flip to one of the stories you liked as a kid: Jonah, David, Creation, Joseph, The Five Loaves, The Resurrection. Read because the stories are interesting.
Read because the words are beautiful. Try the Psalms or even Job, or one of the prophets. Read for the vivid imagery. If no one’s around, read aloud with expression, to discover the power in the words.
Sometimes, when you’d normally watch TV or thumb through a magazine or surf social media, pick up your Bible and just read. Try a random place you haven’t visited in a while. Or a favorite passage.
Why? It’s like mindlessly hearing a song over and over: you eventually memorize most of the words. If you read the Truth over and over, it washes through your mind, refreshes your soul, and makes a difference.
If you don’t have the book, Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore, I highly recommend it. The principle is to find a Scripture verse that applies to your need, and pray it to the Lord. I’ve found this to be so effective personally that it astounds me. (And then, getting short-sighted again, I slack off and start losing ground I gained.)
And you may ask, “Why? That sounds a little odd.”
I don’t completely understand the power of this method. But I think it may be this: When I pray God’s Word, I know I am praying according to His will.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
-1 John 5:14-15
When I pray God’s truth, I don’t waver around in my prayers. I pray with confidence and power. My favorite chapter in Beth Moore’s book is “Overcoming the Enemy.”
But you don’t have to get the book. I have some Scriptures that I’ve looked up to help me guard my mind for Christ. And when I remember to use them, I have much less defeat. Its effectiveness still amazes me.
The references are 2 Cor. 10:3-5, Rom. 12:2, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 51:10, and Psalm 55:22. I have them written on a piece of paper, and I might pray something like this:
Lord God, the weapons You have given me for warfare are not carnal but mighty in You, for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of You. I can bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Lord, don’t let me be conformed to this world, but transform me by renewing my mind, that I may prove what is Your good and acceptable and perfect will.
Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, help me to meditate on these things.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I’m casting my burden on You, LORD, knowing that You will sustain me. You shall never permit the righteous to be moved. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
In whatever area you want victory, I promise the Bible has verses for it.
(Disclaimer: I once heard a televangelist preaching that this method may be used for “financial victory” which sounded very much like “gaining wealth.” If you study the Bible enough, you’ll find the Christian life is way deeper than material security.)
So, do I use all these methods every day?
No. One of them every day? Usually.
See, I know all these wonderful techniques for my Sword, yet I don’t always use them. It’s hard to write about it when I don’t practice it perfectly. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. But I hope by putting it up here, I’ll challenge myself to faithfully use my Sword every day.