“The sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) and it is a well-honed blade, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

“A good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2nd Timothy 2:3) must be a master swordsman, well-trained in the use of this weapon. God’s warrior must approach his targets and stab them in the heart. This is how the champions of yore did battle and the soldiers of this generation can learn from none better.

Behold Peter who convicted his hearers of murdering the Christ (Acts 2:36). “When they heard this, they were cut to heart” (37) because that is what the apostle aimed for – right in the feels. Ashamed of their iniquity, this audience surrendered, begging, “What shall we do?” (37). They were told to repent and be baptized (38), which they gladly did (41).

Behold Stephen who likewise convicted his hearers of murdering the Just One (Acts 7:52). “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart” (54) because his target was the same as Peter’s. Sadly, they viciously resisted. “They cast him out of the city and stoned him” (58).

Although one response was highly favorable and the other fervently hostile, the tactic was the same, and in each case the strategy originated from the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4; 6:8-10). Both men wielded God’s word offensively, fighting to slay sin. “The good fight of faith” demands nothing less (1st Timothy 6:12).

By Bryan Matthew Dockens

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