Faith as Blood Sport

If your father gave you a sword, the first thing he would teach you is to handle it with care.

“Swords are sharp,” he’d say, with a serious scowl. “They’re sharp for a purpose and you’ll learn to use it for that purpose but you must respect the blade. It’s not a toy. Always respect the blade. Especially because it’s double-edged. Fail to respect the blade and you’re likely to hurt someone else with a swipe and yourself on the back swing.”

As a child, you may defy him in an unguarded moment. Children test limits.

You’d be tempted to see just how sharp the blade is. What can it cut? How much will it hurt? But, most children learn quickly. One cut and you’d show proper caution going forward.

Once you matured, no one would need to remind you to respect the blade.

You’d know your own sword, as if it was an extension of your forearm. You’d have trained and practiced with it. You would have used it in battle.

It would travel with you and rest with you. Your sword would be your essential possession. Your inheritance. Your connection with your father.

Your defense against the enemy. Protection for your loved ones. You would never take it for granted.

Our culture is rife with immature children wielding swords like armed babies, creating havoc and damage for everyone in their path.

Our Father gave us a powerful sword.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:16-17 (ESV)

He wants us to treasure it, train with it, and handle it properly. It is for our defense against evil. It can slice through deception and darkness like a light saber. It is a believer’s essential weapon, our comfort, a deep connection with our Father.

But, we must respect the blade.

God’s Word isn’t meant to be a dart we toss at another for sport, blog to blog, sound-bite to sound-bite, sermon to sermon, aimed at this one’s argument or that one’s public stand.

Needless sparring slices the victim of the blade and stings the rest of the believing church on the back swing. It’s petty. It’s ugly. Like watching a married couple argue in public. It serves no one.

The Bible isn’t meant to be a club with which we pummel our enemies or batter those who have fallen prey to the deception of the age. Imagine Luke Skywalker using a light-saber to torment an old woman who disagreed with his politics.

Now, healthy debate between well-matched swordsman is good training for both, but it is undertaken with respect, restraint, and skillful reverence. It doesn’t look like a thug bludgeoning a victim in a dark alley.

These are challenging days. Challenging. Satan pumps deception into the atmosphere like an invisible gas. We must proceed with courage and caution.

Family sticks together. Who would ever want to join a family who tear into one another in public? Who would ever want to join a family who beat one another up in front of their enemy? Jesus said they will know we are His disciples by our love, not because we out-versed someone with Bible passages.

Our Father has given us a sword.

The enemy may incite people to throw us into the ring together and cheer for us to fight, but we don’t have to give them a show. Haven’t you noticed that these days, Christians are thrown to the lions on Facebook and CNN? Nothing has changed, really, except they’ve reinvented the Colosseum and the audience watches on the big screen.

Swordpla

y is only a sport in times of peace and we, loved ones, live in a time of war. Swordplay is serious business. Thumbs up or thumbs down from the stands, we are in the ring together. Our Father would never have us slice in one another with the weapon He crafted for our protection.

Our faith is no blood sport.  In these challenging times, let us conduct ourselves with honor, especially towards those in the family of Christ. Keep your sword with you always, but respect the blade.


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