Falling on My Own Sword
Hebrews 4:12 The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit . . .
It is not uncommon in Christian circles to hear mournful stories about the secularization of society. At Christmas, we object to the change from Merry Christmas, to Happy Holidays. Our country was founded in faith and we grieve the drift away from God. The world has always been hostile to our faith though. Our eponymous leader was crucified on a cross after all.
The temptation for me, in response to this, is to see today’s passage as a call to arms, asking me to pick up the word of God as a sword to be pointed at those around me. When my faith is challenged, I want to lash out in defense of it, using the Bible as a weapon.
I envision myself to be a Christian culture warrior, swinging my blade at those who offend my faith. I can recall a time, twenty years ago, when I had a strong political faith, while my personal relationship with God was anemic. The advantage of this kind of faith is that I can conveniently ignore all my little sins because the world is so much worse. The disadvantage of course, is that this is not what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
When I use the word of God only on others, I avoid its deadly effect on my own life. The word of God must always first, be pointed at self. As Christ commanded me to crucify myself daily, Paul insists I must fall on my own sword daily. I die daily (1 Cor. 15:31). Christ’s message of self-denial and obedience is the sword that must pierce my flesh continually.
How does this passage apply to me? What is God asking that I crucify? How does He want me to follow? When I only think of everyone else’s need while reading the bible, I become blind to my own need for the sword.