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Trust Your Equipment

An Army paratrooper recalls the story of having a bad jump from an airplane that left her with a bloodied mouth and tangled parachute cords. As she hurtled toward the earth, she remembered the words of her instructor: “Trust your equipment. It will not fail you.” Sure enough, her parachute did what it was supposed to do, and she landed safely on the ground.

Soldiers and law enforcement personnel need equipment they can trust. A soldier does not want to rush into battle with a gun that always jams. A police officer will not engage in a high-speed pursuit if he thinks the wheels are going to fall off his patrol car.

The Lord reminds Christians that we are in a spiritual battle. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) The enemies that oppose the children of God cannot be chased away with police cars or threatened with machine guns. These enemies are spiritual. They attack us with spiritual schemes (Ephesians 6:11).

But God has not left His children defenseless. God has provided equipment. In Ephesians 6, Paul urges us to put on all the armor that God has provided: truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.

One piece of armor God has provided can be used both to defend oneself and to attack the enemy. “And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) In Paul’s day, soldiers wanted a sword that was strong so that it could deflect the strikes of the enemy. They wanted a sword that was sharp so that it could strike the enemy with deadly effect.

God has given us a strong and sharp sword with which we can defend ourselves when spiritual attacks come and with which we can also attack the lies of the enemy. This sword is strong and sharp because it is from God Himself. “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV) “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12)

When Jesus was tempted by spiritual scheming of the devil, He drew the sword of the Spirit to defend Himself and attack the lies of the devil. “It is written . . . It is written . . . It is written. . . .” He said to counter each attack (Matthew 4:1-11).

The Sword of the Spirit is reliable, and Easter proves it. Throughout the Old Testament (Psalm 16:10 and Job 19:25) and throughout Jesus’ ministry (Mark 9:31 and 10:34), the promise was made that the Savior of the world would suffer and die, but on the third day He would rise. That a certain person would die is not a hard promise to keep. But that a dead person would rise again on the third day, that is an impossible promise to keep.

Jesus kept that impossible promise and rose from the dead on the third day. His keeping of that promise means that we can be sure that “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Because Jesus kept that resurrection promise, it means that our sins are truly forgiven and that we too will rise from the dead on the Last Day.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead means that you can “trust your equipment.” The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” (Psalm 18:30)

Nathan Pfeiffer is pastor of Berea Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.