Richard opened the front door and peered into the blackness. His fingers fumbled for the light switch.  The light flickered for a moment, then crackled and snapped leaving him in the dark.  Richard mentally prepared himself for a day in the jungle while he ran his finger down the sharp edge of his sword.  The salesman had assured him of the quality of this particular sword and had provided a dazzling demonstration of it’s capabilites.

Richard’s ears tuned to the sounds of the jungle.  He hesitated, the steps were right outside the door, but he couldn’t see them.   Garnering enough false bravado to propel himself forward he stepped through the doorway.   His feet flailed as they searched for the front steps.   Whump!  His ankle found the ground first followed quickly by his back side.  After the pain signals to his brain subsided enough to process information, Richard deduced that the  three front steps were no longer in their usual place.  He crawled back through the doorway he had so recently exited.   Popping open the first aid kit, he found the ace bandage and wrapped it tightly around the sprain.  Wincing in pain he hobbled to the medicine cabinet and opened a bottle of Advil, poured a couple into his hand and swallowed them with a slurp of water from the sink.

Gathering his courage back at the front door he remembered the details about the sword.  The salesman had boasted about it’s bright light so he could see the path ahead of him, and the dangers around him.  It would cut down any tangled vines and fight off any beasts that confronted him on his daily journey.  He pulled it out of the scabbard and immediately appreciated the light that shone forth.  He stared in amazement at his porch steps sitting about five feet in front of the house.  Sitting down he gingerly slipped to the ground. 

The sound of a rattle while edging past the stairs instantly put all of his senses on high alert.   At the same time a baboon screeched.  Then silence.  Maybe it wasn’t a snake after all, maybe it had been the leaves rustling.  He inched forward, still in high alert mode.  To his left a cobra moved to strike.  The next thing he saw was the snake dangling from the sword he held in front of him.  Shuddering he shook it off into the brush.  He made a mental note to take the salesman, who had recommended buying this sword, to dinner.

Richard strode forward in confidence now.  The Advil relieved the pain in his ankle and with the light of the sword he could avoid stepping in the pot holes.  Pausing to take a break after hacking away at some particularly vigorous vines, he slipped the sword into its scabbard.  Voices hummed in the distance.  He glanced in their direction and saw a familiar path.  Richard didn’t need the light of the sword for this path, it was easy, downhill all the way.  When he arrived at the sound of the voices, he found his friends “charming” the very type of snake his sword had killed just a few hours before.  It seemed so harmless now as he watched one of his friends play the flute while the snake swayed back and forth.  His friends watched intently, seemingly as charmed as the snake.  As Richard continued to watch the snake charmer, the thought crossed his mind that maybe instead of using his sword to overcome the snake, he should learn to play the flute like his friend.  When he thought of his sword his hand reached for it, he pulled it out and the light illumined the shadows beyond his friends.  He lifted his sword a little higher to get a better look and his eyes grew wide in terror.  Lions nearly encircled the whole group, within moments they would pounce.  Richard screamed a warning, but no one seemed to notice.  Richard fled back up the path he had so recently come down.  He needed his sword to make it back up.  Climbing up the path proved harder than going down it.  His sword once again proved a source of light and direction to help him find his way home.

Eventually the more Richard used the sword the easier it became to hold onto it all day.  Sometimes he had to hold tightly so he didn’t drop it.  Other times it seemed to nearly have a life of its own.  He discovered that the more he used it, the sharper it became, and the brighter it’s light shone into the darkness.

God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword…. Hebrews 4:12

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