Here's the second Devotion, written for you to enjoy on this run up to REAL.
Sent accompanied by our love and our many prayers for you - God loves you!
Catrina and the REAL team x
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. "Hebrews 4:12 (NIVUK)
When I became a Christian in my mid-forties my knowledge of Scripture came from my Catholic background so it was limited to the Gospels and some phrases from the Psalms. I started reading the whole Bible and I must admit, understood very little. Yet a few months on, I realised that my thinking, my attitudes and my whole life were changing. The Word of God was indeed real, vibrant and effective even without my being conscious of it.
So far, so good, but the rest of the verse conjures up thoughts of pain and tempts me to withdraw, to disengage from the word of God. However this needs not to be the case.
This verse says that the word of God is sharp; it cuts cleanly, quickly and decisively. In it’s sharpness God’s word surpasses the qualities of a ‘double edged sword’. It cuts both ways. It can bring benefits as well as accountability. It can have both favourable and unfavourable consequences.
The Word goes in deeply to show the difference between our worldly soul and the spirit, between the superficial ‘bones’ of our lives and our innermost ‘marrow’. It lays them bare, cleanly separated, without a trace of confusion or ambiguity.
We can interpret the word ‘judges’ to mean ‘condemns’, but this is not the case. God looks at our attitudes and thoughts and judges them, to be good or bad and helps us to see them as such. He says: ‘well done good and faithful servant’ as well as: ‘I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat’. Both kinds of judgement need to be received with the same humility and the same eagerness of spirit. The correcting edge of God’s word needs to be as welcomed as the affirming one.
Because, as the preceding verses tell us, listening and obeying God’s word brings us into the ‘place of rest’, a place where we can be secure in God looking after us, in knowing that he is showing us the way through the difficulties and challenges of our life here on earth.
Both sides of God’s double edged sword are equally important. We need to know where we are right in the eyes of God and where we still need to realign ourselves with his plans for us. Since we know that his plans are to prosper us and not to harm, we need to submit gladly to God’s judgement.
I do not find it always easy and it can take me a long time to work through what God is saying to me through a particular verse or chapter but it brings me closer to him, it takes me to that ‘place of rest’ whatever the external circumstances.
Do I give God enough time and attention to listen to him through his word?
Do I really trust God’s word and obey it even when my worldly self points me in the opposite direction?
Lord, I am coming to you with all my stubbornness and wayward ways asking that you would bring humility and meekness into my innermost being. Please help me to submit and trust your word completely and follow you in your ways not mine. I thank you that the promise of your rest is made real through the death and resurrection of your son Jesus Christ who mediates on my behalf before you. Amen.