Written By Zac Poonen.
In Hebrews 4:12, we read. “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s word penetrates like a sword into our hearts and reveals to us our thoughts and our intentions. In the new covenant (which Hebrews emphasises), it is “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” that are of utmost importance, whereas under the old covenant evil thoughts and intentions were not considered serious, because the Israelites did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. The Law could not expose or punish man for having evil thoughts and intentions. As long as man did everything externally, the Law would commend him. But not so, in the new covenant. When man was under the Law, the word of God only tested him on the outside, like a doctor examining a patient superficially. But in the new covenant the word of God penetrates inside the heart, like a scan or an X-ray. God is now more interested in our thoughts, attitudes, motives and intentions. At times, when everything looks good on the outside, there could be great evil inside, just like a lot of people who look healthy on the outside can have serious diseases like cancer on the inside.
So if you read God’s word today and you are convicted only of external sins in your life; that would indicate that you did not hear all that God wanted to say to you. So always test yourself with this question: “Did God’s word reveal the thoughts and intentions of my heart to me?” Notice that the emphasis here is on the heart and not the head. In all anointed preaching of God’s word, the Word will go through your mind and enter your heart and reveal to you your innermost thoughts and intentions.
In 1 Corinthians 14:25, we read of the result that comes from anointed preaching. The thoughts of people’s hearts are revealed and they bow down and acknowledge that God is present in the meeting. The same thing can happen when you are in conversation with a godly man and he speaks an anointed, prophetic word to you. The anointed word always reveals the thoughts and intentions of the heart because God’s word is like a sharp two-edged sword.
If you want to serve the Lord, make sure that the blade is sharp in your heart and mouth. Don’t ever blunt the edge of the sword and soften the word of God with polished words, in a diplomatic way, to make it more acceptable to man. That won’t do people any good, because it won’t penetrate and go where it should. Have you tried cutting meat with a blunt knife? You can go on cutting and the meat will still not be cut. A preacher who compromises the sharpness of God’s word will find at the end of his message that no-one heard God. God’s word is a two edged sword. The preacher must first allow it to cut open his own heart and reveal his own thoughts and intentions! Only then will he be able to use it to cut open other people’s hearts. If the word of God hasn’t penetrated your own heart first, don’t preach it. Most preachers never judge themselves with God’s word. They only judge others.
The word of God penetrates and judges our motives too. If we open ourselves to the voice of the Spirit in God’s word constantly, we will ultimately have a totally clean heart, because the thoughts and motives of our heart will be revealed to us constantly and we will be able to cleanse ourselves. Every believer should live like this every day. Just as the Israelites in the wilderness received the manna daily, we too must receive God’s anointed word every day from Him.