Dis·cern·ment – the ability to judge well.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Reality and healthy survival demands our being able to judge well to live well. That ability to judge well is what our Sovereign Judge, Resurrected Perfecter an Evidence of Truth have united to provide us. Defining the “division of soul and of spirit” requires more imagination than the grisly image Hebrews paints of a sword whacking through bone to reveal the living inner part, the marrow, that actually provides it needed nourishment.
Hebrews is saying the soul is like a boney structure we might identify as the biblical hard heart. The penetration of that boney structure has to happen to reveal the marrow, the Spirit, inside that hard heart. That allows the Spirit and the Word of God to become the needed nourishment of our growth, impact the intentions of our heart and teach us to judge well. It’s the total package.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
*Sword of the Spirit”
I often start my devotional time by jotting key points of the scripture I’m reading. What came to mind first from these verses was a graphic image of a figure wearing this armor but my visual imagery struggled with two of the pieces of armor; “feet fitted with the readiness” and “the sword of the Spirit.” The rest of the armor was clearly for personal protection but these to pieces seemed different. That made them worth thinking more about.
Shoes that are that are “fitted” to your own feet are a big deal when it comes to readiness to go anywhere. You’re virtually lame if your shoes don’t fit; too small and they pinch…too big and they can trip you up. That makes your personal fit for these special shoes dependent on knowing the truth of the gospel of peace!
The Sword is an odd image. The Word of God often confronts, challenges and convicts the one who uses it. This is what makes it personal; the Sword is more like a surgical instrument meant to save a life rather than a weapon to slay an enemy. It’s like the “physician heal yourself” idea. A surgeon’s has to be skilled and well trained!
Those two short paragraphs are what I was meant to learn today. All the other pieces of armor are protection more readily picked up and put on but shoes and swords are unique. They require more personal attention to become part of what will protect you enough to be ready to reach out to a world of broken people. The shoes are custom “fitted” so you can step out in peace to share the gospel. Your hand picks up the sword that has surgically changed your own heart and mind to become the life-saving “sWord” that reaches beyond your hand to a broken world.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The image of that sharp, double-edged sword makes being changed by the word of God sound so brutal…and painful. Here’s an idea to consider about how that sword might be working in you as you read.
Have you ever read a familiar part of Scripture and been surprised to find you see something new and meaningful you’d never seen before?
I think that’s the sword at work cutting up the Word of God into smaller, easier-to-digest pieces for you. Thats how it becomes the nourishment needed to reunite your soul and your spirit. That’s complete renewal that penetrates your bones, your heart and your mind. That’s God’s Plan Be.