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Category Archives: Word of God

God’s Armor – Using the Sword of the Spirit

In my last post, I explained that the Sword of the Spirit is a special Word that you’ve received from God.  You get it by spending quality time in His presence.  The Holy Spirit trains you before giving you this gift.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This truth is hard for us to accept sometimes.  The true Word of God is alive and active.  It has a life and will of its own.  I can speak it, but I can’t control what it does.

We sometimes think that if God would speak through us, we’ll have such a great time.  That’s not always the case.

Think about Elijah.  He heard from God and then spoke to a king saying that it wouldn’t rain for a few years.  Because of that Word, Elijah had to live by a brook for his water.  Later, the brook dried up and he had to go to a widow for provision.

When God’s Word is invoked over a situation, that Word has its own plan.  Scripture makes it clear that it will accomplish what God ordained it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Even more than that, once God’s Word goes forth, nothing can be protected from it.  It can totally change every area of your life.  The writer of Hebrews continues with this thought.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

When this verse says that everything is laid bare, it uses a special Greek word.  It literally means to expose the neck of a victim so that they can be killed.  This is a powerful spiritual weapon.

This is why the Holy Spirit must train us to use it.  God will never entrust it to an infant, the unapproved, or fools.  It can totally destroy the work of the enemy in someone’s life, in a city, or in a region.

As believers, we should desire to enter the spiritual battle.  Our goal should be to set the captives free from the influence and control of the enemy.

In speaking about those with God-given authority, Paul made an interesting observation.

For he is God’s servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

I know that in its context, this verse is talking about people in authority, such as the Police Department, who are authorized to keep the peace.  But there’s a greater application.

Are you God’s servant?  Do you desire to do good?  If so, then this verse could be applied to you in a spiritual sense.

This verse tells me that there’s a reason why the police carry a gun.  In the same way, the Lord doesn’t issue the Sword of the Spirit for no reason.  If you have no reason to bear the sword, you will not be issued the sword.

What’s the reason that we’re given this sword?  To explain it, I’m going to give a word by word translation of the last sentence of the above verse.  In essence, God’s servant is a punisher, who repeatedly carries out justice against evil, while motivated by a violent passion.

Please remember – I’m ONLY talking about attacking the devil’s kingdom IN THE SPIRIT.  I’m not talking about any physical attack.

With that in mind, if you have no intention of attacking the enemy’s kingdom with a violent passion, then you’ll have no reason to be given the Sword of the Spirit.  To put it another way, God will have no reason to give you a special Word from Him.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to train us.  Our generation needs more believers who can handle this sword.

Question: How passionate are you about seeing God’s will done on earth?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – The Sword of the Spirit

Today I want to begin looking at the Sword of the Spirit.  It’s the second of the pieces that we receive.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

It goes without saying that the sword is an offensive weapon.  Everything so far has kept the enemy from hurting you.  This piece actually hurts the enemy and does damage to his kingdom.  If we’re going to walk in the victory that God has ordained for us, then we need to understand what this weapon is and how to use it.

First, we need to know what it’s not.  The Sword of the Spirit is not the Bible.  The Bible does not hurt the enemy.  As a matter of fact, the devil has the Bible memorized and he quotes it when it suits his purposes (Matthew 4:5-6).

The Sword of the Spirit is a rhema-word from God.  It’s a Word I need to receive directly from God.

We serve a God who speaks to His people.  But we need to be in a position to hear what He’s saying to us.  I must spend the time needed to be listening in His presence.

That’s why it’s important that we understand this is a received weapon, along with the helmet.  The fact is that the Holy Spirit has to train us to use this weapon.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

There are many Scriptures that talk about our need to be approved.  For the most part, we ignore them.  Then we wonder why the church seems to have no power.

The word approved means that there has been an inspection.  More than that, the inspection has been passed and the one tested has been certified.  There needs to be training.

The phrase that’s translated as correctly handles actually means to make a straight cut.  We need to be able to make a straight cut with the Word of truth.  This verse is talking about the logos-word of God.

It’s the logos-word that trains us to use the rhema-word.  For in-depth teaching on the differences between the logos, rhema, and graphe word of God, click here.

The fact is, if you can’t make a straight cut with the logos-word, then you’ll not be given permission to use the rhema-word.  We must be approved to use the sword.  It’s not some spiritual toy that we can take out and play with whenever we want.

The question is, how do I become approved to use this sword?

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:19-21

This verse tells us that anger, man’s passion, will never win the war against evil.  It’s the humble acceptance of the Word that rids us of evil.  At least that’s how it’s written in Greek.

James goes on to tell us how to prepare.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.
James 1:22

These verses from James are all talking about the logos-word.  If I can’t hear and obey God’s logos-word to me, then I’m not ready for His rhema.

If I want to walk in the greater things of God, then I first need to be faithful in what I’ve already received.  That’s the key to a victorious Christian walk.

Question: What’s the last thing you knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – Using the Shield of Faith

In my last post, we saw that the Shield of Faith is the first of the offensive weaponry given to us.  It protects our whole life against the fiery trials of evil.  It also identifies me as a member of God’s family.

Today I want to talk specifically about how to use your faith in the midst of the spiritual battles you face.  Let me first warn you, because I’m going to say some things that you may not agree with.  Stick with me and see where I’m headed.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”  With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak…
2 Corinthians 4:13

There are many places in Scripture where we’re told to speak out our faith.  This is important in using the shield.  To use faith as a shield, I must speak what I believe.

Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

Paul talks about the fight of faith.  It’s a shield fight.  It can fend off the enemy when he first attacks.  It’s all about having a good confession.

Wait a minute!  Let me explain to you what I mean by “a good confession.”  First of all, that word, confession, in the Greek means to speak the same as.  This means that I confess the Word of God.

But be careful.  I’m not saying to mindlessly repeat something over and over again.  God’s Word is not some sort of magical spell.  You can’t just repeat some words and get what you want.

The key is in the verse from Corinthians.  I speak what I believe.  If I don’t believe what I’m speaking, I get no results.

Think about when Jesus was confronted by the devil in the wilderness.  The Lord was not victorious because He quoted the Scripture.  He won the battle because He believed the Scripture that He spoke.

The point is that I can’t simply have God’s Word in my head.  I need to get it into my heart.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Hebrews 13:7

We’re told here to imitate the faith of godly leaders.  They spoke the Word.  But more than that, because they believed it, they lived it.  It was a faith that could be seen and copied.

By spending time in God’s Word – reading, memorizing, speaking, and meditating on it – my heart begins to have faith in that Word.  Then, in the middle of a spiritual battle, the Holy Spirit is able to use that Word as a shield to protect my life.

But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
Hebrews 3:6

As I said in my last post, faith shows that you belong to the family of God.  The word, hope, in this verse actually means expectation.  What do you expect God to do in your life?  It’s time to start boasting about it.

We need to take our trust for God’s Word out into the open.  People need to see the faith that’s in our hearts.  When I speak my faith, evil will have a hard time sticking to me.  My life will start to line up with the Word of God.

Question: What are you expecting from God in the near future?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – The Breastplate of Righteousness

I’m now in a series where I’m going through the Armor of God in detail.  We’ve already seen how the Belt of Truth protects your store of spiritual seed.  Today we’ll move on to the breastplate.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
Ephesians 6:14

The first thing we need to recognize is the placement of this piece of armor.  It should be obvious that this breastplate protects your heart.  That’s an important point.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

Scripture tells us that the most important thing to guard is your heart.  It’s where your life springs from.  Why is that?  And if life flows from the heart, where does that life come from?

If we read the few verses preceding this one, we’ll get the answer.

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.
Proverbs 4:20-22

It’s clear that everything I need for life and godliness springs from my heart.  That even includes healing for my body.  But that’s all based upon the assumption that I’m placing God’s Word in my heart.

We need to get the seeds from the storehouse (our mind) and plant them into our hearts.  Jesus taught the same thing to His disciples.  We find it in the parable of the sower.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Luke 8:15

Without question, your heart is the good soil of your life.  Whatever you plant in it will grow and bear fruit.  The real question is; are you planting wheat or milkweed?

When we come to Christ, our life is a mess.  The Lord comes in and the Holy Spirit begins the process of cleaning us up.

The good soil of my heart is cleared of weeds.  Through repentance, I turn the soil over regularly.  Soon I have a heart of rich, nutrient-filled ground.  It’s ready for planting.

The problem is that you can only plant what’s readily available.  That’s why in my last post I talked about the importance of filtering what we place in our minds.  Too often we allow the enemy to plant his seeds in our soil.

Then we get into the cycle of planting, letting the weeds grow, pulling them up, and then starting again.  Instead, we should be getting God’s Word planted in our hearts.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4

Most people don’t understand what this verse is really saying.  It’s NOT saying that if you delight in the Lord, He’ll give you whatever you want.  It DOES say that if you delight in Him, He’ll put His desires into your heart.

As we place God’s Word in our hearts, His desires spring up.  Then, we’ll bear the fruit of that Word.

That’s why we need to protect our good ground.  This is where the Breastplate of righteousness comes in.  In my next post, I’ll talk about how to use the breastplate to protect your ground.
Question: What have you planted in your heart that you desire to see bear fruit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – Using the Belt of Truth

In my last post, I showed that the Belt of Truth was the piece of armor that protects our minds.  When we memorize Scripture, that seed is stored in our mind.  We want it protected so that it can be planted to produce a good crop for the Lord.

How do I use this piece of armor?  Paul talked about our spiritual weaponry in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

In this battle to protect the seed, I need to make my thoughts obedient to Christ.  That’s the goal.  I don’t want weeds affecting my harvest.

Jesus warned His disciples about the same things.

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them.  “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew 16:6

We need to watch what we let into our minds – the things that we dwell on and rehearse.  We can’t just swallow everything.  There’s a lot of religious talk out there that sounds good.  The real question is; does it line up with God’s Word?

The fact is, the more of God’s Word that we desire, the more the enemy will try to water it down.  Guarding this is the most important thing you can do if you want a fruitful life.

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.  Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.  Grace be with you.
1 Timothy 6:20-21

Paul warned his spiritual son, Timothy, that he needed to guard the Word that had been deposited in him.  Paul literally tells him to avoid those who have crossed the line with their empty words and conflicting theories of how they think God should do things.

The Greek people had a word that they used for this kind of person.  It meant someone who just babbled on and on.  The idiom they used literally translates as a seed-picker.

Are you letting the “seed-pickers” into your life?  You need to be buckling the Belt of Truth around the loins of your mind.  Let God’s Word be a filter to stop the wrong things from getting in.

When we hear something that could affect how we serve God; it should cause a question to rise up.  Is this truth, or is it someone’s opinion?  I don’t want to be found trying to please God based on an opinion.

Please understand that I’m not talking about stray thoughts.  We all have them and there’s not much we can do about them.  But those are thoughts that are not stored yet.  I’m talking about the ones that we continue to dwell on.  They need to be passed through the filter of the Word.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

I’ve heard people quote this verse many times…usually out of context.  Jesus was speaking to believers here.  He explains to them that if they dwell, live in, His Word, they are truly His disciples.

As Christ’s followers, it’s only as we remain in His Word that we will know the truth.  And it’s that truth that will set us free.

The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more freedom we can walk in.  We will also have a great supply of spiritual seed to plant for the increase of God’s kingdom.

Question: How do you guard what’s stored in your mind?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – The Belt of Truth

Our Supply in GodNow that I’ve talked about the spiritual battle that we face, we need to know how to prepare.  To do this, the Lord has given us access to His personal set of armor.  It will take me a number of posts to cover them in detail.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
Ephesians 6:14a

The first piece of armor that we’re given is the Belt of Truth.  We’re told that it needs to be buckled around our waist.  Literally, the belt is buckled around our loins.

In Scripture, our loins speak about our seed.  Not to be too graphic, but that’s where our reproductive organs reside.  Our seed needs to be protected.

We’re told throughout the Bible that we need to be bearing fruit.  That’s not going to happen without a good supply of seed.

First, I want to deal with some misconceptions concerning our seed.  Some think that a few bad seeds mixed in don’t matter.  That’s not true.  Weeds grow and spread without any help at all.

Another wrong thought is that anything that we plant will grow.  That’s not true either.  Galatians 6:7-9 explains that you reap what you sow IF you don’t give up.  It also matters where you sow your seed.  They need to be planted in good soil.

With that understanding, we can talk about the seed that we want to see grow in our lives.  How do we protect our precious, spiritual seed?

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Peter understood this concept.  In this verse, the phrase, prepare your minds for action literally reads, gird the loins of your mind.  Spiritually speaking, your loins, the storehouse of your seed, is your mind.

The reason for this is because your mind should be where you’re placing the truth.  Every time you memorize Scripture, you’re placing good seeds in your storehouse.

The real question then becomes; how well do you protect your seed?  It’s really easy to complain when nothing seems to be growing.  We need to keep our seed from being nullified.

Jesus communicated this in His prayer to the Father.  He wanted the disciples, and us, to bear much fruit.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

We’re talking about the truth of God’s Word, not man’s word.  The only way to protect your seed is to walk in the truth of God.

When we walk in doubt, fear, presumption, hearsay, or our own habits, we nullify God’s Word in us.  We need to operate in the truth – “Thus sayeth the Lord.”  Our goal should be, “I’m doing this because God said…”

We get into trouble because many times we plant a lot of unprotected seed.  We need to learn the lesson from airport security.  “Has your suitcase been away from your control?”

Please understand that this is not just a prayer you make in the morning.  You can’t just confess the Belt of Truth when you get up, and then feed the spiritual pigeons the rest of the day.

We have to protect our seed if we want to see it grow.  That means allowing the truth of God’s Word to saturate all that we do.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to actually use the Belt of Truth in our daily lives.

Question: How much of God’s Word have you stored in your mind?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Changes

In talking about how spiritual warfare has progressed throughout history, we need to see the change from the Old to the New Testament.  Most Christians are misinformed about our battle.  They’re trying to use Old Testament principles to fight their present warfare.

Reviewing what we know so far…before Christ, God’s people had no spiritual weaponry.  The battles had to be fought in the natural.  Even as far as their walk with God.  It was all about following the rules, not the ability to change themselves permanently.

Spiritually speaking, the enemy held all the cards.  That’s why the only way to fight the battle was to follow God’s plan and let Him fight for you and protect you.

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem!  This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”
2 Chronicles 20:15

The problem is that many believers have picked up this attitude.  “I’m going to let the Lord fight my battles.”  We even sing songs to that effect such as the old chorus The Victory is Mine when the Battle is the Lord’s.

You might get mad at me for speaking this truth.  But the simple fact is that there’s no place in the New Testament where we’re told that God fights our battles for us.  On the contrary, over and over again we’re exhorted to fight the good fight.

Why is that?  How did such a change take place?  It’s all because of the work that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.  He even told His disciples what He was going to do.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Jesus made it clear that part of His work on earth was to give God’s people a powerful weapon.  Because of His victory on the cross, Christ put a spiritual weapon in the hands of the church.  It’s the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

What we need to hear is that we can no longer sit back and tell God to fight our battles for us.  That’s not going to happen.  The Lord has placed everything we need for victory firmly in our grasp…if we’re willing to use it.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

It’s crystal clear from the Scripture.  We wage war.  We fight.  God has already accomplished everything we need for victory.  It’s now up to us to walk in it.

Many of us may need to be retrained with this new information.  Over the next few posts, I’m going to be talking about the New Testament concept of spiritual warfare.  Especially if you were one of those who thought that God fights your battles, you need to keep reading these articles.

If this resonates with you, you may want to subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any of these important posts.  My hope is that all who read them will walk in the blessing and victory that the Lord has won for them.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re currently facing in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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