A few weeks ago, at one of our Sunday services, our pastor talked about trading our sorrows and negative thoughts for the truths of God. “How do you actually do that?” he asked. Then he continued, “And what truths and promises of God are you holding on to?”
A lady from the congregation shouted in response: “Behold, I will make all things new!” Someone else said: “I’m not sure exactly how it goes, but there’s this verse about how God has plans for a good future.” Our pastor nodded in agreement and looked around to see if anyone else wanted to add anything.
Sitting in the church that morning, I realised with shock that I was like that second person. Although I knew in general what God had promised me, I couldn’t repeat His exact words. All the Bible verses I had memorised in the past were simply gone, forgotten.
Did you know that, since the beginning of time, it has been the devil’s trick to make people doubt God’s words? And I think it is easy for him to do so with us today too, if we do not know or cannot remember what God has said.
In his book, Spiritual Warfare, Derek Prince writes about this. This is what he says:
“There is one thing that distinguishes the sword from the other five items [of the spiritual armour]. The sword is the first item that is not purely defensive. Without it, we have no way to drive off the devil. If we put on all the other items of equipment, we may be able to prevent the devil from wounding us, but we cannot drive him from our presence. The only thing in that list that can do that is the sword, which is called ‘the word of God.’” (Ephesians 6:17)
In Revelation 1:16, where John had a vision of Jesus in His glory as the Lord of the church, one of the things that he saw was a sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus. That sharp doubleedged sword is the Word of God coming out of the mouth of Jesus.
Since it is indicated in Scripture that Jesus Himself uses the sword of the Word of God, we would do well to study just how Jesus used it in His earthly life. The clearest picture of this is found in Matthew 4:1–11, which describes the temptation of Jesus by satan in the wilderness. Let me point out that every time Jesus encountered satan personally, the only weapon He used against him was the sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God.
I would like to point out some interesting things about that passage.
- First, neither Jesus nor satan even questioned the authority of Scripture. Isn’t that remarkable? They both knew the authority of those words.
- Second, the basis of every temptation against Jesus was a temptation to doubt. Every time satan began with the word “if,” he called something into doubt.
- Third, Jesus did not vary His method of dealing with satan, but always used the same weapon of the Word of God against him. “It is written... It is written... It is also written.”
It is significant that the devil can quote Scripture, but he misapplies it. The devil tried to use Scripture against the Son of God. If he did it against Jesus, he might do it against you or me. We must know Scripture thoroughly and we must know how to apply Scripture if we are going to be able to handle the devil.
Jesus always went straight to the Scripture. “It is written…. It is written... It is also written.” After the third thrust of that sharp double-edged sword, satan backed off; he had had enough. You and I are given the privilege of using the same weapon.
That Sunday, I renewed my pledge to learn God’s Word by heart. I ampolishing up my sword. Since then, I have been memorising Bible verses weekly. I want to be able to trade my sorrows and anxieties for the truths of God. And even more, to be able to win against the devil.