In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul wrote about the armor of God. Included in that set of armor is a sword, and that sword is the Word of God. Some of you know I like swords and sword-fighting, even though I don’t get to do much fighting. I don’t know anywhere near as much about swords and sword-play as I’d like to, but I do know just enough to draw some metaphorical comparisons.
To use a sword effectively, you start by learning how to handle it properly. There are specific ways to use a sword, and using one incorrectly does more harm than good. Just like you need to learn how to use a sword properly, you need to know how to use and explain God’s words in their proper context.
To get better, you need to practice. There are some things you can practice by yourself, but it helps to practice with others. If you practice with someone who has more experience you can learn from them. If you practice with someone who has less experience you can teach them. Either way you get a better feel for what you’re doing. Both ways you learn better how to learn and how to teach, and not necessarily in the way you think!
When I was a kid, we would sometimes do “sword drills” in Sunday School. The teacher would name a Bible verse and we would race to see who could turn to it in their Bible first. Sword drills with actual swords are similar in that they test how well you know your sword and how well you move with it, as well as keeping important movements fresh and reflexive. Know and learn what’s in God’s Word and keep repeating those things. It’s important to have a proper automatic response and not a randomly reactive one.
Know who the enemy is. You don’t want to strike someone you’re not supposed to, and you need to know when you shouldn’t even be swinging. (Related: Mind Your Attacks)
The better you know the Sword of the Spirit, the better you will know how to wield it. And remember to train with the Master Swordsman. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful teacher! (1 Corinthians 2:10, 12-13; 1 John 2:27)
A little more: The Sword of the Spirit