Dr Kinai Miriam. (2007). Sword Words. Nairobi, Kenya: Almasi Holistic Healthcare.
Our world is invariably shaping up and a great deal is happening. Keeping pace with the rapidly changing society can sometimes be distressful if not discouraging. There are wars and rumours of wars, famine and droughts, unemployment and economic morass. It appears that the fabric that holds us together is being chewed at bit by bit and moment by moment. Within no time we have found ourselves struggling with social decadence, economic quandaries, spiritual ordeals, among other things. It is at such a time that we need to be reminded repeatedly until it sticks in us, that our help is in the Lord: That we are not consumed and victory belongs to us.
Our predicament is that most of us peddle and serve doom and despondency. It takes no more than one hour of watching prime time news to establish this. Hardly any of us preach and serve development and distinction. In this negatively supercharged environment, it is easy to give up in life, capitulate to the enemy, join the ranks with oppressors and feel helpless and cowed.
We frequently hear of young people committing suicide because they cannot find gainful employment, marriages breaking despite immense effort to save them, husbands butchering their wives and children and wives scheming to get rid of their husbands because of this or that reason. News about drug and substance abuse, outright theft and embezzlement of public funds and misrule are rampant too.
It is as if we are on the battlefield: A combat zone to save our marriages, families, economy, cohesion and churches. Admittedly we are in warfare.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Life does not have to be a rollercoaster. We can overcome this; for the Bible tells us so.
With this kind of hullaballoo, it is no surprise that I could not rest my fingers once I placed them on Sword Words: How to fight the good fight using the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. I had to devour the book in one sitting, but digest it for a lifetime.
Sword Words is a 231-page book authored by Dr Miriam Kinai. Miriam is a medical doctor with advanced training in Mind-Body Medicine from Harvard Medical School. Importantly, Dr Miriam is a practising Christian and a trained Christian Counselor.
Sword Words is a medium sized book, with a nice cover of red and eggshell colour. The content is arranged in chapters – a total of ten chapters.
In the Chapter One, the author introduces us to Sword Words and endeavours to show us what they are. As the reader finds in the successive sections of the book, the author is generous with Scripture quotations, and this serves well as it fortifies the book’s argument. In fact, this is one characteristic of the entire book that struck my attention. I believe that Christian teachings must always have Scriptural backing, and possibly plentiful of them. This is the only way to drive spiritual truth home. In a world of mass-marketed spirituality, one, albeit painfully and disappointingly, finds treatises that do not make good reference to the Scriptures, suspect and subjective. A thesis as the one advanced by the author needs unshakeable scriptural grounding. Therefore it was heartwarming to start on the book by swimming in scriptures. Like a Berean, I went back to the Bible to check and conduct cross-referencing, and I can confidently report that I was satisfied. We must be fully soaked in the Scriptures. There are no two ways here.
On page 8, the author exegetes a section of Matthew 4 as she set the tone of the book.
‘The devil tempted him thrice and each time Jesus rebuked him by declaring, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4,7,10) and then quoted Scripture. He did not answer, “I don’t FEEL hungry Satan” or “I don’t WANT bread” or “I don’t THINK it’s a good idea” or “I KNOW that is a sin.” He began and ended his conversation with the devil by quoting the Word of God.’
Like the uninterrupted flow of River Jordan, the author seamlessly weaves Chapter One into Chapter Two that tackles other weapons of our warfare. The argument presented here is equally powerful as it draws from Ephesians 6:14-17.
Chapter Three unmasks the warrior. Fundamental questions of identity, as a Christian, are dealt with. The point is that we cannot afford to put the weapons in place and forget to plant the warrior in the plot.
The Fourth Chapter trains its focus on our backup. Who is backing you? The author lets us know that we are not lone rangers. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto to share the story of the starry night with. The writer puts it better than the Liverpool F.C. fans’ anthem, ‘You’ll never walk alone.’
Hiram Johnson, a United States politician of the late Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century is reported to have said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Undeniably, Johnson was right. It is the same case with spiritual warfare. Truth cannot be there if the communication channels are either non-existent or corrupted. In Chapter Five, the author identifies prayer and bible study as key communication channels. These channels must remain engaged.
The Sixth Chapter reminds us of who the real enemy is – Lucifer. Lucifer has a bag full of tricks and the writer of Sword Words elucidates some of these tricks. She rightly calls them tactics. They are the devil’s devious and deathly doings that he accomplishes through humans.
Where does this battle take place? The answer is a resounding ‘at the battlefield’. And what is this battlefield? Chapter Seven answers this critical question.
We cannot be on the battlefield without the battle plan. It is suicidal. It is a form of spiritual laziness and sheer negligence of duty. The consequences can be ominous. The author examines this issue in Chapter Eight.
‘An enemy stronghold is an area in your life where the devil has a strong hold over you and is holding you in bondage.’ Pp.71
How do we physically position ourselves once the fight in our mind is won? How do we hold onto the victory and remain tangibly standing? It is a matter of being intentional, insistent, consistent and persistent. Find out more from the author in Chapter Nine.
The Tenth Chapter is the dealbreaker. It is titled ‘Action’. It is the longest of the chapters, and for a good reason. Herein the author outlines several spheres of our lives and precisely states what we ought to do about those areas. To make a case she prolifically draws from the Scriptures. As I read this chapter, the poetic nature in me was exuberated by the following poem as found on page 83.
When the enemy goads,
I will use the SWORD
Which is Your WORD
To fight him off.
Whe he temptingly prods,
Provokes or suggestively nods,
I will loo to Your WORD
And ward him off.
According to Your WORD
I will fight him with my SWORD
Until he flees my abode
And leaves me unbowed.
The book is concise, persuasively researched, masterfully and beautifully written, packed with wise, Godly counsel and life-changing applications for modern-day life. It is a must-read for every Christian in search of a deeper relationship with God and victorious life.
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