Swordsmanship Takes Practice

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:13-14)

We learn God’s Word by heart, but why? Treasuring God-breathed words (2 Tim. 3:16) brings joy, but that’s not the end of the journey. Blankets are great on a cold winter’s night, but they do no good folded up in the closet. Owning a nice mountain bike is a great thing, but you won’t enjoy the benefits if the bike hangs upside down in your garage. It’s great having tasty ribeye steaks in your freezer, but the real enjoyment of a steak comes in the eating of it.

The passage above points out something critical about our memorizing—once we’ve taken the time and effort to memorize God’s Word, we must deploy it! The word translated “unskilled” (apeiros) has the idea of inexperienced, untested, or untried. David could not fight Goliath in Saul’s armor because he had not tested it in battle (1 Sam. 17:39). In the same way, the proof of the power of God’s Word is in the deployment of it. Becoming skillful and battle-tested as a wielder of the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) takes practice.

Many people will tell you not to quote Scripture in public or in personal conversation. But they are usually wrong. Certainly there is a time to keep silence (Eccl. 3:7), but when we do speak into perplexing situations, how would we possibly have anything better to share? “…He who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully” (Jer. 23:28).

Hebrews 5:14 speaks of exercising our spiritual sensibilities, and speaking God’s Word consistently in daily life gives us the training necessary to make us mature. As C. H. Spurgeon wrote long ago, “The sword of the Lord must be used; the blades of heaven must be smitten against the armor of the evil one, and yet they shall not break, for they are of true Jerusalem metal which shall never snap.”


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