“It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.”
Many people of my generation will get chills at these words. They are the words of an old man in a cave in the very first Legend of Zelda game. The cave is on the very first screen, and if you are foolish enough to ignore it, you will never survive.
The old man gives you a sword. Your first sword. There are two others of course, but without this first weapon you will never be able to defeat a single creature, let alone save princess Zelda and recover the Triforce.
The funny thing is, you do start with a shield. The shield is important because it allows you to deflect arrows and other missiles that might smite your character. But the shield cannot strike back. You can deflect attacks, but without the sword you cannot launch any of your own.
And attack you must, because the evil forces of Ganon will not hesitate to cut you down. The monsters of the dungeons will not give up their pieces of the Triforce until you pry them from their cold dead claws.
Along your quest, you’ll even come across a variety of useful items. A magic ring. An everburning candle. A ladder. A raft. A boomerang. But none of these things can clear away your true foes, only the sword can do that.
Paul the Apostle understood the importance of an offensive weapon. In Ephesians 6 he says,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Paul explains that we Christians are also at war. He explains we cannot fight this war with conventional weapons because our enemies are not of this world. Our enemies are spiritual foes, and so with spiritual weapons must we wage war against them. Paul describes the full armor of God, made up of many pieces which are all vital to our survival in the conflict. Paul however only describes one offensive weapon: the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That is, the Bible.
Like our hero Link, it is the Sword that pierces the darkness. It is the Sword which will vanquish our foes. The rest of the armor of God can protect us from attacks, but it cannot put down the enemy. Unless we take up the Sword, our enemies shall multiply all around us until we tire and let down our shield and our guard. We will be defeated through attrition. To be victorious, we must take up the Sword and smote our enemies with the truth. Only then can we proceed to loot the treasure of the monster, the lost souls of the ungodly.
Christ has bound the strong man by His victory on the Cross and has sworn that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against our assault. But if we come empty handed before the gates of Hell, we cannot sunder them aside nor clear the path of the principalities and powers that dwell therein. Only with the Sword can we do this, and if we have the Sword it shall not fail us.
Therefore take up the Sword. Read the Word of God. Train with it by reading and meditating on it daily. Commit its sacred passages to memory and become as one with the sacred and righteous weapon of God that can demolish strongholds. Then no enemy can stand against you and the prizes that are human souls will be won to our God.