Take Up Your Sword
The devil knows the Bible. He knows what it says, and he can quote it with ease—better than most of us, undoubtedly. Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus when He was fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)—though notice that Satan also twisted what the Bible says for his own deceitful schemes. This shouldn’t surprise us, since the best lies usually have at least a bit of truth in them.
In that encounter, when Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, he enticed Him with an appeal to a spectacular, angelic rescue. But the devil misused Psalm 91 by taking it out of context (Matthew 4:5-6), and Jesus rebuked him by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.” The Son of God repeatedly quoted Scripture to Satan, and he eventually fled (Matthew 4:11).
Our best defense against Satan, then, is Scripture rightly understood and rightly applied. This is why Paul tells us that in order to stand firm against “all the flaming darts of the evil one,” we must “take up … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16). There is no better tool to resist temptation and devilish ploys than the Bible. God’s word is what we use to resist the devil, and the overwhelming spiritual power of that word is precisely why he flees (James 4:7).
Psalm 119:11 encourages God’s people to store up God’s word in their hearts in order that we might not sin against Him. This might sound like a nice, gentle invitation at first—but while it may prove true that the Bible can be consumed and meditated upon in the comfortable company of a warm beverage and a cozy chair, the call to memorize Scripture is in fact a call to arms. Every soldier needs a weapon. Every Christian needs the word of God. Think about the temptations to sin that you regularly face (and, perhaps, give in to). What verses of Scripture do you need to deliberately memorize and then deploy against the devil’s half-truths and lies? Think about the times when the Evil One suggests that you are not really a child of God, not really forgiven. What parts of Scripture will you fling back at him in those moments? The word of God is your sword against Satan. Take it up today, and make him flee.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
all the rules3 of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
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