What is Living and Active and Sharp? Several of the words I’m using as a title for this post are found Hebrews 4:12. They are words that are used to describe what God’s Word, the Bible, is and can do. They are accurate, of course, because they are part of God’s inspired and infallible and inerrant Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). And, for that reason alone, I believe what they say about the Bible. God cannot and will not lie and, consequently, I do not need proof or confirmation of their validity.
However, because they are true, I expect that when I rightly understand and apply God’s Word in my own life and in my ministry to others, God the Holy Spirit will make them just what He says they are – living and active (powerful – KJV) and sharper that a two- edged sword. And, again and again I have seen Him use His Word in that very way.
Recently, as my wife and I counseled a lady and her husband we saw God do this in a vivid way. This woman had been identified by a physician as a manic depressive individual (bipolar depression) and had been given medicine to treat this condition. When she and her husband evidenced some concern about taking her taking the medicine, a friend of hers encouraged her to come to see us for biblical counseling. We set up an appointment with them and had them fill out the Personal Data Inventory forms prior to the first session. During the first session we reviewed the forms and gathered a lot of information about her background and the development of what the physician called her manic depression. (Incidentally, I’m using this counseling account with her permission to do so.)
Interestingly enough, as is so often the case in my counseling experience the physician had made her diagnosis (?) purely on the basis of the woman’s description of her family background and emotional and behavioral symptoms. In other words, no physiological tests had been run to identify some chemical or hormonal or glandular malfunction. The assumption, as is often the case with some people hepers in the medical realm, was that her emotional and behavioral symptoms coupled with her family background was all that was needed to make the bipolar diagnosis.
In our initial sessions we discussed a biblical perspective on depression and also talked about some possible explanations for the upswing side of the depression. I presented some information about manic depression to them from Dr. Robert Smith’s book, The Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference and also asked her to read some books I had written dealing with a biblical perspective on the definition, development, dynamics and defeat of depression.
In the course of our initial counseling sessions I also presented to them Bunyan’s description of Christian’s depression and release from depression in The Pilgrim’s Progress and spent some time explaining, illustrating and applying the relevance of I Corinthians 10:13 to out problems. As follow up assignments I asked her to read, highlight, digest and apply on a regular, daily basis the information found in the following books: Down But Not Out (subtitle – A Biblical Perspective on How To Get Up When Life Knocks You Down), Out of the Blues (subtitle – A Biblical Perspective on Overcoming the Blues of Depression and Loneliness) and A Fight to the Death (subtitle – Taking Aim at Sin Within). I also instructed her to complete the application question assignments at the end of each of the chapters she read.
She immediately began to voraciously read and gain biblical insight and help from these biblically based books. As she disciplined herself and used the resources of God’s Word, God the Holy Spirit began to immediately use His “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” to make some changes in her life.
That God had prepared her for understanding, believing and applying His truth is evident from this note she wrote to us shortly after we began to meet wit her. In this note she wrote: “These have been two trying weeks for me, but then I read the words from the pilgrim’s progress – that moving through the prison out of the castle, one would need to apply determination, as each door becomes more difficult to open. I realized the urgency of keeping within the thoughts of God, meditating continuously, digesting and aligning ALL thoughts accordingly. Some ungodly thoughts I have considered as very insignificant – but have found one cannot compromise or relax, as it is these little foxes that destroy the vineyard … now I see “take every thought captive”.
I Pet. 5:6 – 7 has pulled me through this week & I have witnessed God’s faithfulness that in the appropriate time He does uplift those humbled beneath His hand.
I am just giving a quick over view of my 2, now moving into 3 weeks; one thing is certain, I have never before been this excited about God’s Word – God has significantly opened my eyes into the wonderful gift He has come to give us – how, within 14 years of being a ‘born again Christian’ I have not come to this simple understanding confirms to my heart that only God can open eyes, for the truth to set me free was with me, yet I did not see.”
She then went on to write that her desire was to continue “to learn as much as possible, to see God’s Word so simplified, yet so powerful – amazing!”
That note was written about eight weeks ago. Since then we have continued to see spiritual growth and development in her and her husband. God is fulfilling through His Word and by His Spirit the desire she expressed in that note. We saw her yesterday and, though she has recently experienced a set back at work, she is handling it well and moving on as she relies on God’s promises and His sustaining “amazing” grace. She stands as testimony to the fact that God’s Word is indeed living, active, powerful and sharp enough to cut through, then cut out and also replace the unbiblical thoughts and intents of our hearts that harass us and keep us in bondage to various kinds of problems.