Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. NAS

Hebrews 4:12 is as meaningful as any verse in scripture to me. As a new believer I memorized it and it has effected everything that has followed in my walk with Christ.  I was and am fascinated by the idea of a living word. In a dying world could there be anything more relevant?

When I became a christian in 1976 I was not a reader. I had only read a few books in my life; my intellect was awakened at the same time my spirit was. The bible was the first book I had read with any kind of absorbed interest. When I read it, It was as though my heart stood to attention, saluted and said, “Amen.”

However, my “amen” caught in my throat when I encountered this passage. When I read these verses my earnest yet naive heart paused and thought, “Wait a second Father. What is the need for a sword?!  Remember, I surrendered? I am holding nothing back. Could you please point that thing in the other direction? Somebody could get hurt here.”  It turns out this thought was as naive as Peter’s, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”  Here is how the Message says it…..

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. MSG

I liked the sword analogy better than the scalpel. I was going to wield that sword of truth and enter into manly warfare. The idea of a scalpel seems to have a different implication. I discovered as I walked on with Christ that He was endeavoring to make me into His likeness and that in spite of my new nature in Christ, there were thoughts and intentions, doubts and defenses imbedded in my heart that only a skillful surgeon and His scalpel could access. I have come to believe that to call Jesus Lord is in essence saying, “Lord, you have permission to operate on my heart at any time you deem necessary.”

While His Word is a comfort and encouragement it also exposes my own agenda. I have been shocked and humbled at just how frequently (as in always) within my motives there is a little something in it for me. His Word’s living nature exposes death even in its most subtle (but no less deadly) disguises. I have discovered that I can be as unlike Christ in the motivation behind a hidden sexual sin as I can leading worship while secretly craving men’s approval.

Perhaps the most death-infected and recurring thought which He has had to operate on over the years is my insistence that I have no secrets or hidden things in my heart. And the Lord says, “Really? Be still. This will only hurt for a second.” And the surgeon proceeds…

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

It is a transformational, game-changing revelation when it dawns on us that nothing we think or do can be hidden from Him, not even our motives – where the maturing disciples know the scalpel is most apt to incise. This awareness can be a source of ongoing humility, knowing that we are powerless to hide from Him. No matter where we are or what we are doing we are laid bare. Those intimate with Him know, always….

It is with Him whom we have to do.

Father as we walk on help us to realize however holy we perceive ourselves or not, however close or far from You we imagine ourselves to be, let the Spirit and the Word expose those silly and sinful ideas that exalt themselves above Your loving Truth. Whether its Your rod and staff or Your scalpel, help our hearts come to rest in Your comprehensive love and intentions for us. Amen.







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