8 Minute Read
To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.
Today’s Bible Reading:
Listen to the Lord
Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.
Ephesians 6:17 (NLT): “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Reflections from Scripture:
Life is a battle. I’m not simply talking about the difficulties that come our way. I’m addressing the sinful temptations without and within us. In order to remain on the road toward greater degrees of holiness, it is a struggle.
Therefore, we aren’t surprised when the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to command us to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Then, we are commanded to put on the armor that God has provided for us (Ephesians 6:10-18).
The reflective reader will observe that there is only one offensive weapon in the “armor.” It is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
So, the sword that is used to fight off temptation is the word of God. Yet, when we dig a little deeper into the original words that were used when this letter was written, we realize that two primary Greek words are translated “word” in our English Bibles: “logos” and “rama.”
“Logos” is the Greek word that shows up the most in the Greek New Testament. It is used to speak of the written Word, the spoken Word, and Jesus (John 1:1, 14).
“Rama” is the Greek word that primarily refers to the spoken Word. It can even be translated as “saying” because it is the Greek word used for particular, relevant words.
Why is it important to realize that “rama” is used in Ephesians 6:17 instead of “logos?”
Well, if “logos” was used, we might be tempted to think that the sword of the Spirit is the written word of God. Therefore, we would need to have our Bibles with us at all times. Further, we would need a resource to help us do Bible searches to find a relevant verse(s) for what we are dealing with. But all of this would take time. So often, temptations come at us so quickly that we don’t have time to search for a Bible verse(s) that we aren’t familiar with.
Since “rama” is used, we understand that the Holy Spirit works best within us when we have studied and internalized our Bibles. When we have memorized Scripture and learned Bible principles, we give the Holy Spirit precisely what He needs.
So, try to imagine being an observer at Jesus’ temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan comes to Jesus in the wilderness and throws three major temptations at Him. Do you think that Jesus had to tell Satan to hold on for a minute so that He could pull out the Scriptural scroll and try to find a verse to throw back at Satan? Of course not! Jesus had internalized the Scripture so that He instantaneously gave a precise, relevant Bible verse (“rama”) to defeat Satan.
Yes, we need the “logos” of God. We need our written Bibles, and we need to spend much time studying and internalizing them. But, when temptation comes, we typically only have time for a powerful, relevant verse(s) to fight it off (“rama”). They are the Holy Spirit’s weapon of choice.
So, spend time in your Bible, friend. Internalize it through study, meditation, and memorization. Then, rely upon the Holy Spirit to access those “swords” and give them to you at just the right time.
Spend Time in Prayer
Lord Jesus, thank You for giving me the written Word. Thank You for also giving me Your Holy Spirit, who helps me to understand it. I want to do my part by studying and internalizing Your written Word so that the Holy Spirit can help me fight off temptation and progress in holiness. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.
Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.