All of the pieces of the armor of God are defensive in nature except one. Some would argue that the shield might be used to bash an opponent, but that’s not the intended use. The Sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) is the only truly offensive weapon. To wield this weapon with skill requires practice. One must spend time to know, understand, and appreciate the intricacies of the weapon. David says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (See Psalm 119:103). There’s an old illustration many preachers have used to explain the importance of spending time soaking up God’s Word. It uses the butterfly, botanist and bee!

Butterflies float from flower to flower pausing for just a second or two before moving on. It touches many flowers but doesn’t get much from the encounter. Many people are like butterflies when it comes to God’s word. They really get little from the encounter. Botanists, however, will spend hours focusing a microscope on the pedals, the stems and the stalks while taking notes. When he’s finished he puts his microscope away and closes his notebook. There’s a wealth of information in the notes and in his head. But it doesn’t affect his life. Some people treat their bibles like the botanist treat their flowers. It’s filled with information, they have written all kinds of notes on its content, but when done simply close it and walk away. The honey bee however, settles upon the flowers and makes his way deep into the very heart from which he draws the sweetest nectar from which he produces honey to feed many. The bee takes away all it can carry. It goes into the flower empty but comes out full.

Butterflies move from popular preacher to popular preacher, from Bible Class to Bible class, fluttering her and there looking for another nice feeling. The spiritual botanist takes notes. They focus on each detail of words and grammar and culture, but it’s all purely academics. The bee draws out wisdom, truth and puts those sweet nuggets to work in their lives providing for others. MacArthur concludes after retelling this illustration by asking, “Which one are you?” He goes on to suggest that when God’s Spirit rules in our lives, when we get into our bibles, we will “come in and go out full—again and again and again. You will know how to use your sword of the Spirit, on defense, on offense, and in any way you need. Then in the daily spiritual battle, you will have your fair share of the thrill of victory.”