Put Away Your Sword

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

Matthew 26:52

Even at this late stage in Jesus’ ministry, his disciples didn’t comprehend what he was doing and why. Thus, when the men with Judas grabbed Jesus, one of the disciples began to fight with a sword. (John 18:10 identifies this disciple as Peter.) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

This statement of Jesus, along with others like it, has for centuries led Christians to eschew the use of violence in advancing the kingdom of God. Millions of believers have chosen to die as martyrs rather than to use the “sword” as a tool of self-defense or evangelism.

Most of us won’t be faced with the question of whether or not to use weapons to promote the kingdom. But we are sometimes tempted to rely more on human tools than on the Lord. Evangelism turns into a slick media campaign. Church conflicts are “managed” without repentance and forgiveness. Worship services become professional performances rather than offerings by God’s people. Though God can surely use our tools for his purposes, we must beware of putting more faith in them than in the Lord himself. (See 2 Cor. 10:3-4, Eph. 6:10-20)

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What “sword” are you tempted to rely upon rather than upon God? What are you doing in your life that would be different if you trusted the Lord more fully?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know how quickly I turn to human “swords” when fighting for you. I forget that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of this fallen world. I try to make things happen—good things—in my own power, rather than in the power of your Spirit. Forgive me, Lord, for my self-reliance and for my worldliness.

To be sure, you have given us ample resources to be used for your kingdom. But these find their rightful place only when surrendered to you and only when we trust fully in you, first and foremost. So help me, Lord, to do your work in your way, to rely upon you most of all. When I’m tempted to pull out a “sword” inappropriately, may your Spirit rebuke me and show me the way of wisdom. Whether I’m at work or at home, whether I’m in the world or in the gathering of your people, may I be a channel of your grace, love, and power. Amen.