Hebrews 4:12-13 contains some of the best-known language regarding the beauty and power of the Word of God. It is also some of the most evocative: it is a sword sharp enough to dissect the human soul, discerning the thoughts and intents of our hearts. These are things we rarely even know about ourselves! It is full of life and power. It is God’s reliable witness to us about Himself.
The follower of Jesus Christ does their life and their discipleship a favor when they read and internalize the Word. In fact, it should be said that our discipleship is direction-less without being people who read this Book and allow it to have its way with us.
Not only do we read Scripture in order to get to know God, we read Scripture so that God can, so to speak, get to know us. The Word of God discerns what is within us, and every creature’s heart and mind are laid bare before God.
Sometimes it hurts, but this is good news.
Every human shares this one talent in common: we are all very good at self-deception. There is no denying it. You are very good at it.
We are born with the habit. It is hard-wired into our sin natures. We have every internal drive necessary to distance ourselves from the things that are wrong and broken about ourselves. We deflect responsibility, we ignore persistent habits, we procrastinate in dealing with ourselves, we build byzantine labyrinths of justification, and on and on. We don’t like having our selves, our actual, inner selves, exposed.
If self-deception comes so naturally to us, is there a way out?
Hebrews tells us the Word of God is able to carve up the corrosion that grows in our souls if we allow it to have its way. Using the imagery of a sword, we are told that the Word of God can divine even soul and spirit. With a physical sword and a good swing, we might be able to relieve someone of their head. With a scalpel skilled doctors can perform surgery with excruciating detail. But none of these tools can lay open my soul to the only One who has the power to do that kind of healing.
Don’t just read the Word, learn how to soak in it. Learn how to read it for what it really says about God and the human condition. Learn how to properly interpret it. Trust it and learn to obey what it says you should do.
It will return the work you put in with truth, wisdom, and relationship with the One who revealed Himself to you in His Word.