12For the word of God is living 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. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Yesterday I posted about growing up in God and the struggle between rules to guide the child and relationship to inspire the adult. I thought a good follow up question is this, so how do we grow up?
Far as I can tell, there’s only one source of graduate Christianity and that’s the Bible. Let’s just be blunt for a moment and admit that most of us love the Bible and enjoy talking about how much we love it; but there’s a much smaller number who actually commit themselves to being students of the Word. I say this not to criticize but to just put the truth out there so we can deal with it.
Joyce Meyer on the radio or Sunday morning sermons are wonderful resources but if we really want to grow deep in God; they just aren’t enough. Life groups, devotional books and inspirational books are also great but still not enough. It’s not enough until we take the Bible in hand and decide to understand it with our hearts. And when we do that, we realize that there is really never a point where we can have enough of the Bible.
The Word of God, says the scripture at the start of this; is like a surgeon to our souls. It doesn’t allow anything to remain buried and hidden. It acknowledges that God already knows it all and sees it all and it allows us to see ourselves more clearly. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Do you see anything there about the rules and by-laws of the church?
There’s a very good reason for that; the right-standing heart lives not outside of the rules but beyond them. Have you ever done something nice but kept a little bit of attitude in the back of your mind while doing it? Ever given a gift while feeling the recipient didn’t deserve it? The revealed heart recognizes that attitude and then goes a step further to realize that I myself am the recipient of undeserved gifts. The final realization is my own position, not the other guy’s.
The rule follower pats him/herself on the back for giving a gift to someone who doesn’t deserve it. The student of truth thanks God for His gifts on their own undeserving life; beginning with salvation and thanks God for the privilege of following in Christ’s footsteps to continue giving gifts undeserved.
It’s only through personal pursuit that we reach the point of the revealed heart. No one can force it through lessons or rules of behavior or laws. A seed planted on a Sunday morning will never come to bloom unless it is tended on Monday and beyond. We are too often like soil, seeds sown but without attention to bring about a harvest.
Are we our own gardener? No, Christ continues the process but only with our permission. If we lock the gates of our heart, He will not force His way in. And we deceive ourselves with rules, like seeds planted with no heart to water and fertilize the soil of life.
The Word of God applied personally is the only way to exceed the Christianity of Minimal Requirements. It is the only path to break free of frustration with a world that disobeys the rules to an attitude of compassion and mercy to share the relationship we have with Jesus.
You and I need the Word of God in quiet times to do a personal inventory. We need heart surgery. We need to grow up.
We need to take it personally.
2 Timothy 2:15
15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.