A lesson in division
Tough question this morning - what, if anything, acts as a 'barometer' in your life, judging both your thoughts and the purposes of your heart? If you say it is the scripture, that would be good, but I need to ask you another question - how does having this 'barometer' affect your choices? The recent couple of days have turned chilly here in Arizona, moving the thermometer down from the mid-90's into the mid-70's. That is a big change that moved us from capris wearing weather to needing a small cover-up over you while lounging in the chair! I should have adapted my wardrobe selection to adjust to the weather shift, but do you know what I am wearing as I sit here this morning? Capris and a t-shirt - my usual casual attire. Despite the barometer clearly showing we were in for a significant weather change, I didn't adapt to the change. There are times when I ignore the weather barometer completely, so what would make me think I will always pay attention to the 'barometer' God places over my mind and heart to help keep me prepared for what comes next? To be transparent here, I often have a little conflict between what the 'barometer' is telling me in my mind and what my heart chooses to pursue!
The word of God is alive and active. It is sharper than any sword that has two edges. It cuts deep enough to separate soul from spirit. It can separate bones from joints. It judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Scripture is a great 'tool' in our lives, but just as I might ignore the weather barometer, it is probable that I may ignore the 'spiritual barometer' at times. Scripture is actually given to help us 'divide' - to help us sort out the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, the 'next' from the 'not now'. Soul and spirit aren't always in complete agreement. Soul demands some way that spirit says is not the right choice or perhaps not the 'right now' choice. Spirit desires to make the right choice and be in the right timing. The two stand opposed to each other more often than not. Soul (mind, will, and emotions) can turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the things God tells us in scripture - because it doesn't please us, isn't going to fulfill some desire we have, or isn't making us feel good. Spirit will challenge those responses, but oftentimes our spirit has a hard time being 'heard' above the demands of our soul.
The Word of God is ALIVE and ACTIVE. There is no stagnancy in scripture. Yes, it was written a long, long time ago. Yes, it was written in a time when things were 'different' and 'simpler' than they are now. Yet, if you look at scripture long enough, you'll see the 'conditions' of long ago really aren't all that different from those today. Governments still fight to make themselves the biggest and most powerful leaders in the world - just like back then. People still are lured into illicit relationships - just like back then. Kids still rebel against their parents - just like back then. If the 'conditions' of all those years are really not all that different than the conditions that exist today, then scripture is indeed applicable to us today - it is ALIVE and ACTIVE.
It separates (divides) better than any scalpel or knife. Why? God's word is what brought life into being, it is what sustains it, and it is also what can take it away in a single blink of an eye. It is powerful and it is purposeful. Our actions all begin within the venue of our minds - the 'locale' of our thoughts is important because it determines the ground upon which we will 'engage' our actions. This is why God reminds us to keep his Word central in our lives - to help us be on the right 'ground' for each action. Too many times we move away from things that act as a 'judge' in our lives. If we are in a relationship where we feel 'judged', we might leave it. If we leave it, do we escape the judgment? Not really. The one who judged us is still able to take that same action time and time again - we just aren't in the relationship any longer. It doesn't stop their judgment.
God's word can be abandoned, but it doesn't stop it acting as a 'judge' in our lives. His word isn't going to leave us, despite our efforts to leave it behind! The Word of God is ALIVE and ACTIVE - it doesn't just 'go away' because we don't want to pay attention to it. It still points out where our thoughts and the purposes of our heart are not 'right on' or where they have drifted 'away from center'. This is why I try to start each day with even a small portion of scripture. It helps to sort out my thoughts and it points out where my heart isn't pay close attention to the instruction I have been given. It oftentimes reins me in, reorders my steps, and takes me down a different path than the one I had chosen to pursue. It is indeed ALIVE and ACTIVE - it cannot be dismissed. Just sayin!