Active 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)

Yesterday I talking about praying and reading scripture—making your entire time in Bible study also be a time of prayer.  Today I want us to notice some of the specific things about this text.  I have often heard Hebrews 4:12 quoted, and commonly we quote the first part—the word of God is alive and active—and possibly the second—sharper than any two edged sword—but then we stop there.

But what follows is important.  Swords in Bible times were generally not decorations.  They were used for a purpose.  This one pierces right down to the center, looking at the way we’re put together.  It makes judgments about our thoughts and our desires.  You can’t stop it.  It will show make everything clear.  And finally we have to give an account to someone who knows everything, not just whether you’re naughty or nice but even whether you think naughty or nice!

So let me suggest something to specific to pray as you open your Bible:  Lord, let your word change me.

Lord – Jesus is your savior and lord.  You acknowledge that he is the one with the authority in your life.
Word – It’s easy for us to talk about the word, but we have to remember that it is God’s word we’re dealing with.  God’s word will not come back without accomplishing what God has sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11).

Change – Let God make the changes he sees are necessary.

Me – This is the key element.

I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve gone to the Bible to find out something for somebody else.  Many times I’ve gone to the Bible to find something I can use to correct someone else.  Many more times I’ve encountered others who were looking for something in the Bible to use on other people.

Sometimes you have to look things up for other people.  People ask me Bible questions and I research the answers.  Sometimes someone needs to be corrected, and a person in authority must research the scripture to present the best case.

But the first thing we must do is be corrected by God’s word ourselves.  I need to hear from the Lord about what he wants me to change in my life.  That is my first task.  Only when the Lord has done something in me through the power of his creative word am I ready to minister that word to others.

The word has to go through me when I use it in ministry.  I can’t just pluck words from the page and throw them at other people.  I have to consume them myself, let them find my weaknesses and move me closer to God.  I must let them humble me.  Only then can I truly minister God’s word to others.
Let’s pray that God will help us all to be open to his powerful word!

— Henry Neufeld

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