“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV)
One of my first fulltime jobs was as a retail salesclerk in a department store. I was assigned to the seasonal department, which sold toys, outdoor items, and etcetera. One of the things our department sold was bicycles. One day we received a new model of bicycle, and the department manager asked another employee and me to assemble one for a store display. Well, we began putting it together intuitively. When we got done, we had two parts left over. When we tried to pedal the bike, it was virtually impossible to turn the pedals and make the rear wheel turn. It was then that we had a brilliant idea. “Let’s look in the assembly instruction booklet to see what these two parts are?” We discovered that they were the nylon-bearings for the rear wheel. We thought, “Well, it was just a display model anyway. We’ll just put it up on the top display rack.”
Our decision to put it up on the display rack without the rear bearings in it would come back to haunt me. About a week later two women came into the store and saw that bike and wanted to purchase one as a gift for a child. I told them that I would get one from the warehouse and bring it out to the register. However, they did not want one from the warehouse. They wanted the display model. I tried very hard to tell them that that bike was defective, that it would not work. Yet, they would not listen. They left in a tizzy and came back a few minutes later with the store manager. He told me to give them the bike. I explained to the store manager that the bike had a problem, but he would not listen either. He gave me a direct order to sell that display model to the two women. So, that is what I did.
I probably was not there when they brought back the defective bike, or I would have heard about it. Perhaps the child for whom they purchased it never actually used it. However, this one thing I know. If we had just read the instructions before assembling the bike, we would have done it correctly and avoided the problem. It is the same way in the Christian life. The word of God will give us everything we need to know to negotiate the choices of life and keep us from failure. We just need to open the Bible read it and do what it says.
The Psalmist said it, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, ESV) It will guide us in the right path.
The Bible is the most vital of filters used by spiritual people.
The writer of Hebrews directly points out that the Bible is the primary and most effective tool for discernment of the “thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). The adjective the author of Hebrews used for, “discerning,” kritikos,comes from the noun krites, a judge (Strong G2924) and refers to an ability to discern or judge (Thayer p106). The word of God, the Bible, is the God given filter for “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Thus, the second filter is characterized by the question, “Does the Bible say it is ok?” Believers must use the Scriptures as a filter for their ideas, inner feelings, desires, and thoughts to ensure these align with God’s purposes for us.
Here, in using the Bible as a filter for our thoughts, we must remember the vital importance of the first filter, “Am I living like a spiritual person?” The reason is that they Holy Spirit is the one who illuminates the truth of God’s word to our hearts (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor 2:6-16). If we do not pass the first filter, we will not be able to trust our interpretation of the Scriptures in guiding us.
I was in a church one time where the Pastor shared a story of a woman who called him because she had a dream. She believed that God spoke to her in the dream about something she was to do. It was goo that she called her pastor for this is another filter that we will discuss later dealing with godly counsel. The pastor stated that he visited her and spent time searching the Scriptures to ensure what she felt led to do passed the filter of God’s word. The word of God is our essential filter.