Living Word

12For the word {message} of God is alive and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and spirit, bones and marrow, and judging the desires and thoughts of the heart {mind}. 13And there is no creature who is not visible to him, for everything is naked and laid bare to his eyes, to whom we must render an account. 14Since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us grasp our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, since he has been tested in all things in the same way we have, but without sin. 16Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we might receive mercy and we might find grace in time of need.  — Hebrews 4:12-16 (HN)

When I was in graduate school I met a young man from India.  Actually, he was about my age, but now many years later I remember him as young.  He asked me to do him a big favor.  He was hesitant to ask.  I wondered what he could be after that he was so hesitant.

Finally he told me.  He wanted me to teach him how to drive.  He assured me he had read the manual and passed the written test.  He had the permit in his hand.  He just needed someone to teach him how to drive.  Now I had no idea what his background was.  My idea was that you grew up around cars, you knew lots of things about them.  I’d steered my dad’s car, driven it in and out of the driveway, and so forth.  By the time I went to get my license I already knew a great deal about the car.

So we went down to the parking lot next to the library where we both worked.  I invited him to take the driver’s seat.  “Are you sure?” he asked.  I didn’t understand his hesitation.  I got him into the driver’s seat.  He put the car in reverse and let out the clutch.  We flew out of the parking space.  We barely missed several cars.  By the time I had wrestled the car to a stop, which involved stalling the engine, we were almost on the other side of the parking lot.  Miraculously, we didn’t hit any of the cars.

“I told you this wasn’t a good idea,” he said.  With further conversation I discovered that he had not grown up with cars.  He had no idea how things worked.  He had a theoretical knowledge of how each thing worked, but no feel for how the car functioned.  We continued his training in a large field.

For many of us, the word of God is just like that young man and the car.  We know some of the things it says.  We go to it day after day to discover facts and gather information.  But far too many of us leave our time with the Bible with a few more facts, but nothing more.

Now commentators debate whether the “word of God” in our text today can be thought of as the Bible, or whether it is the Word incarnate, Jesus.  I think the answer is “yes.”  It is both.  Whether we are looking at Jesus or studying the scriptures, we are dealing with God’s word.

According to our text God’s word is active.  It’s going to do things to you.  Good things if you let it.  How do you get that excitement, that experience of God’s presence as you read?  How can you open yourself up to let God change your life as you take in his Word?

Let me just make one suggestion.  Try starting with prayer, but don’t say your “Amen” until your reading is complete.  Make your reading a part of your prayer in your own mind and spirit.  Let God speak directly to you.

Facts are important.  But letting God take control of your life is more important.

— Henry Neufeld

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