Scripture refers to itself metaphorically as a "sword" (Eph 6:17). The sword is the only item listed by Paul that serves in an offensive capacity in Eph 6:10-18. Even if we have all the rest of the armor equipped perfectly, without the sword, we amount to little more than heavily armored moving targets. Swords are for close combat, not long range warfare. Close combat with a determined and powerful enemy is violent, dirty, messy, and unpleasant - and can be quite costly.
The church is engaged in a cosmic war with powerful evil. The struggle is very real. It is immediate, and it is in front of us.
Our push-button age of high-technology gave birth to antiseptic drone warfare that is conducted in the safety, security and air-conditioned comfort of a van thousands of miles from the battlefield, where participants experience none of the actual physical effects of war. Unfortunately, the same mindset often carries over into the contemporary church where Scripture is often used only as a hygienic, long-range missile. While the power of prayer certainly is not limited by either distance or time and is often appropriate at distance, it's noteworthy that the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament was almost always "face-to-face". While there was infrequent exercise of power from a distance on His part (i.e, Mark 7:24-30), almost all of Jesus's encounters and ministry were personal.
Reluctant to get our hands dirty, we sometimes mistakenly resort to the comfort of long-rage warfare. But empowered with the indwelling Holy Spirit as the hands and feet of Christ, our most effective course of action is often face-to-face. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to effectively wield the sword. Because our chief weapon is the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God, every true Christian has access to devastating firepower. Because we fight with Spiritual weapons…every Christian is potentially a powerful soldier against spiritual opposition and evil.
Swords are for close combat, not long-range warfare.