Our “Upstream” discussion this past Sunday melded so smoothly into Adam’s message (I Samuel 13 and 14). The children of Israel were facing war with their archenemy, the Philistines, and they needed to sharpen all their weapons.
Those verses talk about plowshares (a main cutting blade for a plow), mattocks (a kind of pickaxe), goads (a spiked stick), axes, and sickles. Each of these agricultural implements could also be used for war. But in order to be effective warriors, those tools needed to be sharpened and in hand.
You and I aren’t going to war with the Philistines, but according to Ephesians 6, we are engaged in a battle with the devil and the powers of this dark world. So how do we sharpen our own implements of spiritual warfare? How can we make sure we are able to effectively wield our own weapons?
A good place to start is a personal inventory. What “plowshare,” “axe,” or “sickle” in our own cabinet needs to be readied for conflict? Let’s ask, “What are my God-given talents?” As a result of genetics and nurturing in our childhood, we all have things that we are just “naturally” good at. Whether we are saved or not, we all have inherited some talents. And using those talents allows us to meet needs.
But we ought to take that inventory one step further and ask, “What are my spiritual gifts?” These are not inherited, but given to each believer at the time of their conversion to Christ. These particular gifts are outlined in I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
Utilizing our spiritual gifts doesn’t just meet general needs. They are given by the Holy Spirit for the express reason to “to equip His people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up…”
(If you happen to be confused about your spiritual gifts there are several online assessments that are helpful. It is also good to ask some spiritually mature folks around you for insight into your spiritual “bents.” And at the end of the day, the best way might be to just start serving the body of Christ. Your passions will become clear and your tools obvious.)
Our individual spiritual “weapons” (talents and spiritual gifts) are meant to be used on a daily basis. We are to wield out weapons and actively engage in spiritual conflicts.
When we keep our sin list short, our minds clear for godly purposes, our hearts attuned to Him, and our flesh in check, our “weapons” stay sharp and ready for battle. So, let’s all grab the Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) and get engaged this week.
See you on the front line!