Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: Hebrews 4: 12-13 (MsgB)
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.
Taking up The Sword of God’s Word, as Paul suggests in his letter to the Ephesians (6: 10-18) is not something we, as dedicated followers of Christ, should take lightly. As we mentioned last time, there are sadly, many times when well-meaning, but very unwise Christians become nothing less than religious thugs who go out with God’s Word in one hand and a chip on our shoulder in the other. The results, quite honestly, are nothing less than disastrous.
As I see it, it’s ludicrous for holier-than-thou Christians to declare boldly to the outside world that homosexuality, for example, is an unforgivable sin, while we, ourselves, so easily betray God’s Word when it comes to our off-the-charts infidelity and divorce rate within Christian circles. How is it that we can take one part of God’s Word and use it against others while we, in the Church, totally ignore other sections of Scripture in our own personal lives?
As Paul states in today’s passage to the Romans, God’s “powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.” Like a two-edged sword, the Word of God cuts both ways! So we can’t, on one hand, accuse others of disobeying sections of God’s Word, while we totally ignore other parts of it as well?
So, what are we to do?
From my seat on the bench, I believe the first, and most important step, in taking up The Sword of God’s Word is silence and solitude. The truth of the matter is this. Most of us in the Christian world today are simply too busy trying to solve other people’s problems, commenting freely here and there on the poor condition of the world around us without truly examining the even poorer condition of our own hearts. In recent years, I’ve heard the Lord’s inviting voice, calling me to simply be still and know that He is God!
And that, quite honestly, is hard…very hard for an old pastor who has made his living talking for much of his thirty years in pastoral ministry. My long-time pastoral coach, Dave Jacobs, reminds me regularly that pastors and church leaders in today’s busy society are constantly selling and telling, doing our very best to gather a crowd and keep the folks both thoroughly entertained and actively involved with our ministries. Meanwhile, the true desires of the Master, is that His shepherds and overseers would simply slow down and learn the fine art of Christ-centered pastoring, where we spend more of our time simply asking great questions and then taking the time to shut up and listen!
Taking up The Sword of God’s Word.
Maybe today, that means that I might pick up a Bible and simply open it up for myself?
Not searching for passages to preach on.
Not hunting down a verse or two that can be used to pound sinners with.
But just a sentence or two of God’s Holy Word…written to help me slow down my busy life so that I might better appreciate, for myself, the amazing grace of Jesus of Nazareth. The One who died on the cross, and rose from the grave, for me!
More on that idea next time!
My prayer: Forgive me Father, when I take Your Holy Word and use it as a weapon toward others, doing more damage to others than actual good. Allow me the grace and the wisdom to simply take up The Sword of God’s Word, allowing it to open me up first and foremost. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How am I utilizing The Sword of God’s Word? Do I realize how sharp a scalpel it actually is and am I being careful in its’ use, both in my life and the life of others?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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