“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Lately, I have been feeling challenged about God’s Word. I’ve been being convicted of the fact that too often, we take for granted our free access to the Bible and demote its role in our lives. In Hebrews 4:12, we are told that the Word of God is living and active. Unlike any other written words, the Bible is God’s Word and so is more than just words on a page. As the passage continues, it is sharper than any two-edged sword. It cuts through to the thoughts and intentions at the core of our being. It convicts.
This morning, I was cooking with my almost three-year old. We were baking some muffins and as cooking with a three-year-old often goes, my newly cleaned kitchen floors and my clothes ended up covered in cocoa. Instead of shrugging it off as part of the fun, I became irritated that my daughter had, in her excitement, let the measuring cup enthusiastically miss the bowl. I expressed my displeasure at her carelessness and moved her out of the mess while I cleaned it up. Quickly, I felt the Holy Spirit admonishing me that I was in the middle of a mummy-meltdown, a grown-up version of a toddler-tantrum. After apologies were made and we finished our cooking, I sat down to read my Bible.
Currently, I am working through James and wouldn’t you know it I was up to James 1:19: “Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” I shouldn’t be surprised when God’s Word cuts to my heart and exposes my sinfulness, for this is exactly what God uses it to do! It continues to amaze me that in God’s mercy, the Holy Spirit considers my sanctification important enough to stick at it. When I come to His Word, I should expect some of this sanctification to occur and in fact welcome it.
I long to be a doer of the word, not only a hearer (James 1:22). I am humbled that God continues to chip away piece by piece at me, refining me, purifying me, making more like my Saviour Jesus. As James continues, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in the mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:23-25). Woe to the one of us who reads or hears the Holy Word of God and does not come away a little more sanctified. Like the man in this passage who sees his reflection and then walks away unchanged, we too can read God’s Word and not put into practise what the Holy Spirit has convicted us of.
It is my hope that next time I cook, God may have helped me learn from this and be a little more patient. It is my hope that I will come to open God’s Word and realise how precious it is. It is my hope that I will come to God’s Word expecting to be convicted of my sin. It is my hope that I will be thankful that God considers my sanctification important enough to stick at it. It is my hope that I will close the Bible and be changed to be a tiny bit more like Jesus. Finally, it is my hope that in persevering, I will recognise God’s blessing that is in store.
Some Bible study resources that I’ve found helpful lately: