Hebrews 4:12, 13 “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
God and His Word are the most powerful forces at work in the life of every man. No one can hide from them, and everyone must ultimately respond to them. The force of God’s Word was working mightily in my life these past few weeks, violently revealing that which was decidedly hidden from my sight. It threw my soul into upheaval, shattering the thick walls that my sins hid behind. For months, possibly a year, I had fostered a passion which dishonored my Savior, my God. I believe the desire was godly when it was young, but it grew so large and so fast, for a long period of time it outweighed my love for the Lord. I had exchanged the object of my life worship, my Redeemer, for my own self-erected golden calf. I did not truly love the One who was pierced for my transgressions; I loved that which pleased me. My mind and heart were ruled by it, so much so that a day did not go by in that period of time without it occupying many of my thoughts. Sure, I learned much about my God and even still honored Him in this time, but the majority of my heart was not given to Him. This idol of the mind extended its grasp into many areas of my life, including how I looked at my brethren, how I conducted myself at church functions, and how I behaved in my own home.
But praise be to the God Almighty, for His strength is greater than our weakness; His love is stronger than our hate; His grace is more than sufficient for the depth of our depravity. Three weeks ago, the living sword which is the Word of God made a divine incision, and cut loose the web of sin my soul had weaved upon itself. I realized through the reading of Scripture and the teaching of the mature in Christ, that something had obstructed my love for the Lord, and I had chosen to store it away, to remain apathetic to it. This realization shattered me to the core, and it demanded action. Matthew 16:24, 26a “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. … For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” I knew this imperative of Christ well, yet I had chosen not to practice it. I loved my Savior more than anything but this idol, and I desired to follow Him, but I refused to deny myself.
One of my favorite songs is called Give Me Christ Or Else I Die. Its chorus is so written: All unholy and unclean, I am nothing else but sin, on thy mercy I rely, give me Christ or else… I die. How could I sing with passion the words, “Give me Christ or else I die,” if I refused to live for Him? About the time the Lord brought His Word to bear upon my heart concerning my idolatry, my youth group sung this, and my heart sank within me, convicted of hypocrisy. I knew then that I was not living for the Lord. I was broken over this sin, saddened because I was looking for satisfaction outside of the Word of God, and outside of Christ. My soul was grieved, for I had led other beloved followers of Christ headlong into sin. The Word of God is truly piercing, and when one is struck by it, the pain can be severe. Thankfully, though, the joy brought about by its sanctifying work is greater.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
In this trial, my Father has disciplined me, and He continues to do so. Hebrews 12:11 “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Trials and discipline are not to be mourned, for they are gifts of God, not curses. The Father is training me for greater service to Him; He is teaching me to find my satisfaction in Him, and Him alone. I am learning to love my Father more than myself or anything else. Another passage of great impact throughout this trial and before, is Psalm 73:25, 26 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” God is enough, and as Psalm 73 goes on to say, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”
This trial is not over; no, it is a struggle that will continue for quite a long time. It continues in the mind. I must be careful to guard against the treachery of my heart and mind. I must follow Paul as he says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.
My final thoughts are of thankfulness. 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” If not for His faithfulness to provide grace, I would have never seen my sin, and if not for the strength which He supplies(1 Pe. 4:11) I would not have been able to fight it, as I must continually. In the end, though, it all comes back to our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 4:13-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need.