The following passage is a foundational scripture for anyone seeking to live a life that is pleasing to God:
“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.” Hebrews 4:12 NASB
When consistently followed, the practice of judging your thoughts and feelings by the Word of God will bring spiritual growth and maturity. It will set you free from depression and combat fear. It will reveal insecurity and unbelief, and divide truth from lies. Paul instructed the Roman believers to: “… not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Transformation and change is what we are after—to be new, different, righteous! To be conformed to Christ’s image! To be light and salt, God’s ambassadors to a lost and hurting world.
Jesus said we are to live by “…every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). How do we do this? First we have to know what God says, and He has spoken (and speaks) through His word, which is the Bible..
Jesus said that a characteristic of His true disciples are those who abide, or live in His word. His word reveals truth…it is truth, and truth brings freedom. Feelings are fickle, constantly changing, influenced by whoever we are in contact with or whatever we are focusing on at any given moment in time. I can feel like doing or saying many different things when I’m driving in my car, but just because I feel like doing it, doesn’t make it right.
The U.S. is experiencing the fall-out from years of people choosing to do what feels right vs what actually is right. Violence and hate is pervasive. Sin is glorified instead of confronted and put down. The family unit is in confusion, dysfunction and disarray while parents abdicate their responsibility, letting children choose their own way, rather than instructing them in the way they should go. We have gone from a mostly moral nation (knowing right from wrong and choosing right), to immoral (knowing right from wrong and deliberately choosing wrong), to a nation with a rampant exhibition of amoral behavior: one lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something (Webster). And people wonder why!
We can become righteous again. We can be a nation, a people who are concerned about what our Creator thinks, a people who seek Him and His ways.
And it starts with you…and me. We cannot point the finger at others if we do not submit ourselves to God’s instruction and truth. When I instruct and warn my children against doing something, it’s not because I want to spoil their fun. It’s because I love them and want to protect them from harm.
And here’s the thing, God’s word is not all thou shalt not…it’s also the catalyst for joy, peace, freedom, healing, security and love.
Let me share some practical examples of how you allow the word of God to work in your life, to divide soul (feelings, emotions & thoughts) from Spirit (truth, righteousness, God):
Let’s say you are someone who battles guilt and shame, even after you have confessed your sin to God. That lingering feeling of condemnation is just that: a feeling. It is not truth. If you don’t actively battle this feeling you will always be subject to it. You will believe that no matter what you do, God is mad at you. Or you might think that you deserve punishment, or that you need to “work off” the sin, somehow redeeming yourself.
This line of thinking is not scriptural and needs correcting. The correction comes when we believe God’s word and allow it to change the way we think. This is how we become conformed to God’s way of thinking.
Here is what truth says regarding sin, condemnation, confession and God:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:19
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!” Isaiah 1:18
It’s the truth you know (and believe and speak) that sets you free, so be free!
Seek God in His word. Love truth, and allow it to correct you. None of us, I repeat NONE of us, is born knowing right from wrong, is born without sin, is born without need of the Savior. The scripture that so many people know, but so few embrace, is the start of a love relationship with God, our heavenly Father:
“For this is how much God loved the world—He gave His uniquely conceived Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!” John 3:16 The Passion Translation
Fight the good fight of faith with the only weapon that triumphs, the word of God. Speak it out of your mouth, inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit of Christ!