Friday, November 7, 2014

My Parent’s GPS

(Submitted By Kerry Patton)
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

A few years ago, I bought my wife and I a GPS navigation unit to assist us when we travel by car.  We found it so helpful that I decided to get one for my parents.  I imagined that they would find it very helpful for when they visit my siblings in the Metroplex.  Just set it and follow the verbal instructions!

Mother and Dad were very glad to have their GPS.  For a while they actually kept it in the car, but then it was in the way…and they weren’t using it, so they took it in the house and stored it in a drawer…you know, for that day when they needed it.  I tried to encourage them to take it out and play with it a bit.  They needed to become familiar with it so that when they needed to use it to get where they wanted to go, they would know how it worked…how to enter the addresses…or how to use it to find food, gas, or a hospital.  It could be very helpful…even life saving.

Years go by.  Just this week, I was speaking with my mother and she told me that they had actually plugged the GPS in and had used it to navigate through downtown Dallas.  She seemed almost surprised at how easy it was to program and follow. 

The Bible, or the Sword of the Spirit, is our own personal GPS.  It will direct us in the paths we need to take and it is user friendly. 

Enter The Sword
Again in Ephesians chapter 6, we find the Apostle Paul using the imagery and armor of a Roman soldier to communicate his message of how a Christian ought to dress for spiritual warfare.  In verse 17, Paul draws our attention to a very low-tech solution to battlefield weaponry: the sword.  His reader understood swords, and so do we.  Paul identifies this sword as “the sword of the Spirit.  Furthermore, he clarifies his imagery by adding the phrase: “…which is the word of God.”
We remember that our battlefield is spiritual, not carnal.  Likewise, our weapons are spiritual, not earthly.  If we are to prevail on the spiritual battlefield, then we must be skilled in wielding the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

An Unfamiliar Weapon
A common danger here is that it is so easy to treat the Sword of the Spirit with the same regard that my parents had for their GPS navigation unit.  They were glad, and thankful to have it.  It had a special place in their home, so that should they someday need it, they’d know just where it was.  But because it ‘lived’ at home, it was very unlikely that when they needed it, it would be at their disposal.
King David knew a better way.  In Psalm 119:11 he wrote: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  Later in verse 105, David wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  For King David, the word of God was not a book that rested in a bookshelf, or on a coffee table, or in the back seat of the car (where mine is at the moment).  He studied it.  He consumed it.  He meditated on it day and night.  He memorized the counsel of scripture so that it would always be with him…ready when life required it.  Like a sword, so familiar to a soldier’s hand that it was practically an extension of his own arm.

Prayer: “Oh Lord, help me take up the Sword of the Spirit!  Give me a hunger for your word.  Like David, let it be life to me, a lamp unto my feet, and that with which I can fend off the attacks of the enemy.  Amen.

Scripture to claim: 

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11

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