God’s word is alive, you see! It’s powerful, and it’s sharper than any double-edged sword. It can pierce right in between soul and spirit, or joints and marrow; it can go straight to the point of what the human heart is thinking or intends to do.
No creature remains hidden before God. All are naked, laid bare before the eyes of the one to whom we must present an account. [KNT]
The word or voice of God can go in between that which seems inseparable. One way in which it is so powerful is that it can parse out the separate components of our being that we merely see as one big mess.
Why is this so powerful?
God’s word exposes the reality of what is inside. Our thoughts and our intentions. And not only that, but shows us the make up of those thoughts and intentions. To know how something works, you take it apart so you can see all the hidden pieces and where they go and what they’re attached to. This is what God’s word does to us. It takes a apart that which we thought could not be separated, thus showing us more clearly the truth of who we are and what we must do to become whole.
We’ve all at least heard of the parent whose answer to the child’s question, “Why do I have to?” being a short, “Because I said so!” At times, I guess this could be appropriate, but it is not all that helpful. Our heavenly Father is much more patient. His word exposes the why on His end as well as ours.
For example, let’s say you tell “white lies” all the time. You don’t think much of it, for it has become a part of you, a self-protective mechanism you’ve learned and adopted over your lifetime. Moralism would simply say “Stop lying. You shouldn’t lie.” It “shoulds” all over you, as we say. But the word of God goes deeper. It lays the axe to the root as opposed to the mere cosmetic trimming of the outer branches to make the tree look good. Being pierced with the word of God, your eyes may be opened to the fact that you lie to always put yourself in a good light because it is so very important for you to look a certain way to others. Further down the rabbit hole, you see that what God thinks of you is not enough, you must have approval of people to be happy. The divine nod of approval is just not enough for you. Further still, you see that you really don’t trust God to care for you or vindicate you. You must defend yourself because God certainly will not.
It is very powerful when you have a true brush with the divine. You see many things all at once, not just one thing to stop doing or else! (Though this could be the case, I guess.) When you “touch eternity” as they say, you encounter God, you are exposed. Be it via an angel or whatever. This is why people always have to be told to not be afraid. Encountering the numinous is frightening indeed because of the unknown factor. God’s word shows you in an instant the nature of your heart, the nature of His heart, and you are not the same. God disassembles you to show you more fully and accurately what the heck is going on inside.
Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword to cause division. Heavy.
Soul and spirit are so close together that they can hardly be told apart. Same with joints and marrow. The surgical word of God is sharp enough to go between the two into the tiniest of spaces. Then we see more clearly what needs to be removed. For instance, you may feed the homeless for God. Or so you think. Then at some point you genuinely encounter God and the word of His truth. Exposed, you can now see that your real intention has been not to relieve suffering or work for God, but to atone yourself for the wrongs you did when you were younger. At the deeper level, you see that you are helping the homeless out of guilt at the end of the day. God shows you that He took care of your sin through His Son and loves you now as you are. That there’s nothing you can do to atone. It is an impossibility and does not compute. When touched with this reality, you are so moved to love and fulness and humility, that you go back to feeding the homeless solely and sincerely for the love of God and for the love of other people in need. You are now performing, agenda-free, for an audience of One, and you are more satisfied than you’ve ever been, knowing that, thru Christ, you are enough. You are enough. Your need for self-atoning was exposed and removed. This could not have been seen on your own, standing at the surface.
If we were toys in packages, our box would read: “Disassembly required. Your Father puts it together.”
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria