Pick up your sword

“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.”- Hebrews 4:12.

 

My husband likes to watch the show Forged in Fire. Have you seen it? It’s a reality TV show where some of the finest bladesmith’s in the nation compete for a cash prize by hand making replicas of ancient style weapons such as swords and knives. Their weapons are judged in many areas such as sharpness and durability. The judges test each competitors weapon and the winner is the one who’s weapon proves to hold up the best while cutting, slicing, stabbing, throwing, and killing (on dummies of course). The process of forging is defined as heating and hammering, to beat into shape especially by concentrated effort. Dull, heavy, ragged sheets of metal are heated to extreme temperatures in order to form and shape into something that resembles a blade. After the forging process is complete the sharpening comes, metal against metal, iron against iron until the blade is so sharp it’s battle ready.

 

The above verse has been a pinnacle for me in the last week. After Andrew Eastmond spoke his word of knowledge (thank you Pastor George for the lesson on that) over me this past Sunday, it spurred me on so much that I have a new heightened sense of the time I’ve been wasting. I’ve been refreshed in the Spirit and encouraged to surrender myself to my Heavenly Father’s pruning in this concentrated area. In light of God’s word I’ve realized there are areas of my life that I’ve allowed to be stifled and have been dormant, overgrown and weeded in by things that do not glorify God. I need the double edged sword that His word is to come and remove the twines that bind so that light will shine in areas where it hasn’t in a long time and new growth can take root. I have a freshened desire to learn and be more like Him. I imagine most of us who received prayer from Andrew feel much the same way. I had become so complacent in many areas while still believing that how I was doing in other areas was good enough. Red flag…THAT’S A LIE!!! Even at our best we are NEVER good enough, not in comparison to the gleaming crown of glory, our Savior. He doesn’t want us to live in comparison with anything or anyone other than His word. We absolutely MUST allow ourselves to be in constant comparison to only His word because it is the one thing that will lead us and keep us on the path He has for us.

 

When we stop opening the Word, pruning stops, weeds creep in, light dims and the path becomes unclear and overgrown. If you find yourself discouraged because you didn’t go up for prayer or you had missed an opportunity to get a word of knowledge this past week the good news is, though it’s encouraging and a boost to our faith walk, we don’t need a word of knowledge from Andrew or someone else to move forward in the pruning and growth process. It’s a wonderful blessing to be encouraged by other believers who can speak into our lives, whether they be complete strangers or dear friends or family and we should always be looking for opportunities to do that for others, but that doesn’t mean if we don’t have that that we can’t grow because the basic truth of it is the only one we really need to hear from is God and all we really need for growth and reflection is the Bible.  

 

Maybe you’re like me and you want to be good about getting in the Word but you don’t know where to start. Start with a self-assessment. What’s the first thing that comes to mind that you know is not of God or needs work. Maybe you aren’t sure. Do you have an immediate pain or need and lack the faith that God will meet you there or provide? Maybe it’s a fear you have. Whatever it is, take that one word (fear, faith, guilt, forgiveness, suffering, grace, etc.) and begin doing a study on that area. God will show you amazing things as you begin to focus in on His word. You’ll know you are doing something right if it hurts at first. Like the verse says about God’s word, it’s alive, it’s a sword, it penetrates. Allow it to. We must surrender to the process, if we are resistant then change cannot take place. Don’t give up when the pain gets to be too much, let it penetrate even further and deeper to the marrow asHis word says. The deeper the sword gets, the closer God is. I have a visual of two soldiers fighting and as one penetrates the other with his sword, it’s physically impossible for him to stay an arm’s length away. If he wants it to penetrate to the marrow and cut through to serve its purpose, he absolutely must come closer. So close that their breath exchanges. God is not our enemy, He doesn’t want to kill us but He does want us to be willing to die to self. That can be a struggle but He sent His Spirit to remind us of His word when we struggle. We need to use the Word to slough off the old and put on the new. Dying to self can be a very painful process, but worth it. Be sharpened fellow followers because as a church family, we are no doubt at some point going to need one another for sharpening. Whether you believe it or not, YOU do have something to offer and what you have to offer, someone else just may need in a time of desperation or trouble someday. Let’s vow to fill ourselves with His word so that we can be a flowing vessel for others in their time of need.

 

Blessings,
Leah Parkin

June 1, 2018