Hearing God: The Word Alive!
The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword
Soon after I got saved in 1978 I had a profound experience that on the surface did not seem all that amazing. One day I walked into a Christian Bookstore called Words of Wisdom and after perusing all the wonderful Christian books that I couldn’t afford I settled into listening to a young lady who was talking to the owner. This gal was very excited and began elating over one passage in The First Book of Corinthians.
As I listened I noticed something while she was enthusiastically sharing her scriptural discovery. I was not getting as excited about what she was sharing as she was. Same for those around me. What the young lady was sharing was good, in fact, very good… I mean we are talking the Bible! And it definitely spoke to her. But that was the point… it spoke to her. She had had a very personal encounter with this section of scripture and she had experienced quite an “Ah-ha!” moment.
In such moments the words of the Bible seem to leap off the page… and they seem to come alive… alive just for the reader! It’s as if God has wrapped a gift for you and it was unwrapping before your very eyes. The book store owner knew this and understood that this young lady had experienced something very special. That’s why she smiled knowingly while the girl spoke and even drew her out more about God had shown her. As she did that the rest of us were able to join in a bit more though not at the same level this young lady did. That day, I learned two valuable lessons.
God’s Word is Alive
First I learned that this phenomenon I had witnessed was another piece in my understanding of how God communicates with us. The Bible describes it as the Holy Spirit enlightening our hearts with the truth of God’s word.
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
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. (NASB)
We notice that the Word of God is described here as being “living” and “active”. This to me describes the unwrapping of the gift. Studying or reading the Bible should never be just a rote exercise or just limited to an academic study (though there is nothing wrong with educating our minds with the things of God) but if that is all then I submit that one’s Christian life will be rather lifeless and dull (no gifts!). Let’s look at a translation that tries to expand things for us…
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Amplified)
I like the words “energizing” and “effective”. The young lady at the book store was definitely energized but not in a caffeine induced sort of way. Something had “penetrated” her heart with communication very personal from God. It was that living word, the Rhema or spoken word of God. I encourage you to ask God to speak and make his word alive as you read it. Not everything we will read will come bursting off the pages but I will guarantee you’ll start with a great sense of anticipation once you know that God wants to communicate to you through the Bible.
We are Made Alive to God’s Word
Second, I recognized that things changed when I became a Christian with regard to the Bible. As I mentioned in my previous post Hearing God: Our Birthright our salvation is linked with hearing God. The following three verses reinforce this point.
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. (NLT)
The initial word God sends is meant to be “planted in our hearts”. This phrase has me thinking of new life that is living and active and ready to grow in our hearts.
1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
And this new life originates in the eternal, living word of God, not dead but alive and dynamic and ready to work in our hearts. Once this is done the scripture below is true for us. Not only is God’s Word living but we are alive to God’s communication to us.
He who is of God hears the words of God
Finally we see Jesus uniting the two, the written Word of God and the spoken Word together.
But He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is written, ‘ MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
He says first in response to temptation – It is written… this piece is result of him knowing, studying and even memorizing the life-giving scriptures.
Second, he says that there is a nourishment a daily bread or food that is the Word that proceeds… out of the mouth of God.
Evidence of our Conversion
God’s Word is living and we are made alive to God’s Word. This is something that happens to even the newest believer. Over the years people have asked me how can they know that someone is a Christian. Obviously only God knows for sure. And He’s good at letting us know.
But I began to answer many moons ago that when I see a person interacting with the scriptures in a living way, in that I see God speaking to them and them hearing and responding then I feel a strong confidence to say, Yes, that person is born again. From that communication comes a hunger and a thirst that is wondrous to see. To that I say, bring on the gifts!