A few weeks ago, the power to our house turned on and off throughout the night. When the power was off, the darkness and lack of air conditioning during a Florida summer resulted in an uncomfortable evening with little rest for our family. The next morning, due to my lack of sleep, I spent only a few short moments reading my Bible and praying. I felt tired and cranky as I left the house and drove to the local women’s jail to lead Bible study.
Before I began our study, I asked the group if anyone had any good news or answered prayers they wanted to share. One young gal, who we will call Erin, raised her hand with enthusiasm. Erin was new to studying the Bible and we had connected over the fact that we both had three-year-old sons born just a few days apart. Erin told me how she had made an adoption plan for her son due to her history of drug abuse and homelessness.
After I called on Erin, she said, “I’m being released from jail today! But last night, I couldn’t sleep. I was so anxious. I kept thinking about how my housing plans fell through and how I have nowhere to go. I’m also worried that when I’m on the streets, I will get back into drugs.”
I began to wonder how this was good news. Just then, Erin held up her Bible and said, “But last night, I started reading my Bible in my bunk. This book is amazing! It’s like a weapon! Am I allowed to say that? That my Bible is a weapon?” I responded with a smile and a nod. She continued, “The words in this Bible spoke directly to me and helped me fight my anxiety.”
The truth is that God’s Word is “alive and powerful” (Heb. 4:12 NLT). Since God’s Word is still living today, God speaks to us as we read our Bibles. Something I appreciate about the women in jail is that since many of them are new to studying the Bible, they read it with a sense of awe, wonder, and excitement. I admit that I often grow so accustomed to Bible reading that I don’t read it with great passion or a sense of expectation.
The Word of God is “alive,” and it is also “powerful.” In Ephesians 6:17, Paul calls the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit.” God’s Word is sharp, sturdy, strong, and doesn’t lose its potency over time. It is necessary to win spiritual battles. Just as a physical sword has the power to cause harm, when we use the sword of the Spirit against Satan and his lies, he is stopped and defeated. As Jesus demonstrated, when we declare God’s Word when tempted, this shuts Satan down and results in our victory (Matt. 4:1-11). We can use “Scripture specifically in life’s situations to fend off attacks of the enemy and put him to flight.”
I remember hearing a sermon where the pastor talked about the sword of the Spirit. He said for us to imagine that someone challenged us to a literal sword fight. He said that when the date and time for the duel came when we arrived at the venue, we forgot to bring our swords. While that sounded like an unlikely story, I think all of us got the point. When Satan is filling our minds with lies or creating havoc in our circumstances, many of us are not prepared for battle. I know I would never show up to a “sword fight” without a sword. However, there are many mornings when the busyness of life results in me skipping my Bible reading. When I do this, I often treat leaving the house without my sword as no big deal. If we are going to be victorious in our struggles over our flesh and the devil, we need to invest time in reading our Bibles so we are battle ready on a daily basis.
How can we fight back? As Erin demonstrated, when we are feeling overwhelmed with fears or tempted to despair, we fight back lies from the devil with the truth of God’s Word. When our relationships or circumstances leave us feeling fragile or weak, if we open our Bibles, we will discover powerful promises that will fill us with confidence and strength. When we’re concerned about our kids, our spouse, our lack of a spouse, our finances, our future, or our health, we can fight our fears with reminders of God’s promised care and faithfulness.
If Satan tempts us to believe that our situation is hopeless, we fight back with the truth that “nothing will be impossible” with the “God of hope” (Luke 1:37; Rom. 15:13). When Satan tells us we have messed up too many times, we fight back with the fact that as we confess our sins, God promises to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we feel lonely or abandoned, we fight back with the fact God will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
Just as the power being cut off from our house resulted in our air conditioning not working according to its intended purpose, when we cut ourselves off from the power available to us through God’s Word, we can’t live the victorious life Jesus intended for us to have. When we don’t take up our swords of the Spirit, we forfeit the weapon God gave to us to fight our spiritual battles. When we don’t start our days replacing lies with God’s truth, it is likely we will feel ill-equipped for our day. I hope Erin’s story encourages you to remember that God’s Word is a powerful weapon no matter what you are facing. Let’s make spending time in God’s Word a priority so we can walk in freedom and victory.
Below are some of my favorite powerful passages from Scripture.
Please share some of yours in the comments!
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”