“This weapon is your life!”

“This weapon is your life!”

These significant words were spoken by Obi Wan Kenobi to a young Anakin Skywalker, who, in Obi Wan’s judgment, had just been careless with the most important thing in his life, his light saber. Indeed, from a Jedi’s perspective, it was as if he’d been careless with his very life.

For us as Christians, we need to be reminded that we have a “weapon” that is our very life: God’s Word. Eph. 6:17 calls us to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This “sword” is powerful. We are told in Heb. 4:12 that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” Indeed, this weapon is more powerful than any other weapon in this world, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). And what are these “strongholds” that we must (and can, by the weapons God has given us) destroy? “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). These “arguments” and “lofty opinions” are the weapons our enemy uses to distort or draw us away from “the knowledge of God.” In this context of 2 Corinthians, Paul is talking specifically about some foolish false teachers who are trying to draw the Corinthian believers away from their allegiance to Paul and Paul’s gospel. Nevertheless, Paul is confident in the “divine power” he has been given to overcome these enemies and their falsehood, and I think the primary weapon Paul has in mind is the truth of God’s word, particularly in the gospel.

In what way is “this weapon” our very life? Well, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4; Lk. 4) to command stones to become bread to fill Jesus’ hunger, he responded by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus was here acknowledging that life is not sustained merely by eating food. But even more than that, Jesus was trusting that his Father was taking care of him and supplying all his needs according to his riches in glory (to borrow Paul’s language in Phil. 4:19). Notice something else significant about Satan’s temptation, particularly in the other temptations that were narrated for us in the text. Satan cleverly turns Jesus’ words on him. It’s like Satan was saying, “Alright, Jesus, you’re right that the Scriptures say that you must live by God’s word.” Then, Satan uses Jesus’ own weapon against him. Satan’s temptations, I think, are examples of arguments or lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God, twisting the Scriptures even, to try to draw Jesus away from what he knew to be true about his Father and about himself.

So, what do we learn? The sword of the Spirit is our great weapon, and it is our very life. For us to live the abundant life that Jesus provides, to experience genuine fruitfulness under God’s rule in this world as his people, we must hold and use our weapon responsibly. We must treasure God’s word in such a way that we recognize that our very life is dependent on it. We must actually live like the Bible is important to us. We must be diligent not to be found, like Anakin Skywalker, being careless with the great gift that God has given to us. Let us also not misuse the gift we’ve been given, and be (unwittingly) doing the work of Satan (think of Peter, rebuking Jesus when Jesus said he must go and die on the cross….Jesus quickly let Peter know whose thoughts he was thinking!).

At the end of Return of the Jedi, the evil emperor tempts Luke Skywalker to turn to the dark side of the Force. At one point, when he has sufficiently worked up Luke’s emotions, he says, “Take your Jedi weapon! Use it. Strike me down with all of your hate and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!” Thus, the emperor would tempt Luke to use his powerful weapon to serve his own hatred and evil desires. We, too, must be on guard against the evil one’s temptations to use the weapon that God has given us to use in legitimate ways to grow us and to stand firm in the truth of the gospel against all manner of deception in this world. One of the ways that Satan is, frankly, winning this battle is by tempting believers NOT to use their weapon at all, or to use it in such a careless way that it doesn’t actually impact our lives. Let us fight hard against this temptation. May the Scriptures super-saturate our lives, so that there is great excess overflowing all over the place! May we be so zealous to read God’s word and to understand what it is teaching about God and about us and about the world that we can never get enough. May our minds be so filled with God’s word that our conversation naturally uses the language of the Bible, naturally brings the gospel to bear on whatever we may talk about. And may each of us seek diligently to learn more and more about the Bible, the sword that we are supposed to be wielding in this spiritual war. Too many times have I heard from people, “I don’t like to read.” God has revealed himself…in a book!! God has providentially preserved his word through the ages and blessed people with the time, talent, and resources to translate that word into our own “heart language.” Many of these people literally gave their lives to see this come to pass. Let us not take for granted their sacrifice. Let us not take for granted the gift that God has given to us. We are in a war; blessed be the name of the Lord for providing us with the only weapon powerful to enable us to survive to the end of the war!

This weapon is your life! Don’t neglect it! Don’t be careless with it! Don’t expect that your faith will survive without it! Do everything that you possibly can to understand what it is, how it works! (It’s no good holding a sword if you don’t know which end is the “business end.” In The Mask of Zorro, when the old Zorro asked him about his sword, “Do you know how to use that thing?” Antonio Banderas’ character, Alejandro, said, as he was about to become the new Zorro, “The pointy end goes in the other man!” This is true…but, as Alejandro soon found out, this is insufficient!!) Each of us must pray that God would give us a love for the gift he has given us. Each of us must pray that God would cause us to love reading more than we do now, so that even reading the hard parts of Leviticus will be a joy and a delight! Knowing God IS eternal life, Jesus said in John 17:3. While this is very much a relational idea, it is not relational to the exclusion of “head knowledge,” as it is sometimes pejoratively called. How well can you really know a person if you don’t know stuff/facts/details about them?? So, let us go on to maturity, as Heb. 6:1 says, leaving behind the “elementary doctrine of Christ,” always being eager to learn, and by doing so grow into a deeper more intimate relationship with our Savior. Let us ask God repeatedly that he would give us a genuine hunger and thirst for greater knowledge of the Scriptures. And let us ask for wisdom and clarity to see how we may apply the gospel to every area of our lives, from the movies we watch to the way we raise our children, from the books that we read to the way we treat our spouses, from the places we eat to the way we converse with unbelievers. Oh, that we would be a “people of the Book” again!

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Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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