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.
There is a scene in the film, The Usual Suspects, which, so as not to spoil the whole thing, I will only describe as an epically clever con man film. In this scene, the main character is being interrogated by a detective regarding the whereabouts of an infamous gangster bad guy. He’s the baddest of the bad and to get him would be the equivalent of destroying the hive by getting the queen. The suspect says, when pushed to reveal his secrets,
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
And isn’t that the truth?
You could, Christian or not, conceivably live your whole life without ever actually acknowledging the battle between good and evil. You could start your day with raisin bran and a cup of coffee and go about your good work and end it with the family around the dinner table and bedtime and a book and never really get worked up about the things outside the zoomed in layer of your life.
And it would be a fairly good life. Certainly a more even-keeled one…as long as you don’t pay too close attention to the news and no one in your inner circle gets sick and you and your spouse get along and life procedes merrily until age 99 when you quietly expire into the arms of Jesus in your sleep.
I kind of wish it were this way—if I’m being totally honest.
I wish the devil didn’t exist and I have found about one million and one distractions to keep me from thinking about him.
But God does not want us to wait until sickness or despair or loneliness cracks us awake with its whip to spend time with Him. He wants us to look up consistently, to stretch our eyes toward Him, so that the crick in our souls from bending over our own ambitions doesn’t become a permanent stoop.
To keep the word of God “alive and active” is much more than a suggestion. It is a necessary armament against the distractions of a middle of the road life. It is an amelioration to our dulled existence. It shoots some truth into the marrow of our bones.
I love the battle analogies in the Bible. I love it when it reminds me that my life is part of one big epic tale. My soundtrack is running even if I cannot always hear it and God’s word, the actual chapters and verses and genealogies in Genesis and poetry in the Psalms and apocalyptic visions in Revelation, turns up the volume. It places me in the story.
This is why I read my Bible—to be reminded of my place. It is so much more exciting than the phrase “I’m going to go read my Bible” often connotes.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian who lived in the thick of Nazi Germany during World Word II (a time you would never dare forget the devil exists), said this:
“The deceit, the lie of the devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God’s Word.”
Let us never ever forget the Words that keep us tied to a bigger story and that make life so much more exciting and sharp and potent that it would be if left to our own devices.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!