Caution: I Have a Sword and I Don’t Know How to Use It
The pen is mightier than the sword. Unless that sword is the Word of God. When used properly, God’s word is the most powerful force on earth.
But when used recklessly, it can deafen listeners to the ultimate message of God’s love.
Disclaimer: I have fallen into all the pitfalls described in this post. If you’d like to learn how to climb out with me, keep reading!
The natural response when you receive a sword is to start swinging. The purpose of this post is to give you a few “weapons safety rules” to follow before you accidentally impale the chambers of an open heart.
“In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.” Revelation 1:16
During military basic training, recruits routinely recite information in unison while marching to and from various locations around the base.
I remember reciting our four weapons safety rules while marching to the chow hall:
- “Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.”
- “Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.”
- “Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.”
- “Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.”
God’s word is often described in the Bible as a double-edged sword.
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
This imagery explains the dividing nature of the truth of Christ.
“There will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” Luke 12:52
The world will forever be split between those who accept His word and those who reject it. Christians need to be aware of the power they hold when they wield the word of God.
We’ve all heard stories from annoyed victims of irresponsible proselytizing:
- “She told me that if I didn’t join her particular Church, I’d be going to hell!”
- “He said if we listen to that kind of music we weren’t really saved.”
- “They said if I didn’t agree with their interpretation, then I was harming the church.”
When a person newly accepts Christ, they are eager to follow the Great Commission:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
These well-meaning Gospel sharers can cause problems under several conditions:
- The message is shared out of context.
- The non-essential doctrine is preached as an essential doctrine for salvation.
- The speaker misinterprets the literal or figurative nature of the text.
- The sharer doesn’t point out distinctions between temporary prescriptions (some Old Testament laws) and eternal principles (teachings of Jesus).
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Here are three safety rules which will help you safely share the Gospel and the message of God’s love:
- Be humble. Arrogance does not come off well. Plus, you don’t know what you don’t know (a lesson I frequently relearn).
- Be informed. Follow Peter’s advice and be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is in you.
- Be encouraged. Jesus said before they rejected you, they rejected Him. Author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson, Michael Hyatt, writes in a blog post on leadership,
“Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the willingness to act in spite of my fear.”
How has the sword cut you?
- Organic Evangelism: Nutritional Intolerance as Evidence for God
- Just War Theory and Evangelism Part 1: Jus ad Bellum
- Apologetics: It’s Not About Saying You’re Sorry
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.