“Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29
We think of God’s words in many ways: comforting, encouraging, inspiring. It is those things. However, this verse from Isaiah tells us something very different, and a little scary. God’s word can be destructive.
Most of us have a lot of preconceived ideas. We think certain things because a parent, teacher or other authority taught them. We think other things because it’s convenient: thinking in a certain way justifies our actions, helps us to fit in, or advances our position in the world.
When we compare some of these ideas to God’s word, what happens? They are destroyed, blown away. We find we can’t hold onto them. It’s painful and unsettling. Sometimes we’re tempted to accept the parts we like, and ignore the ones we don’t.
A devotion I was reading this morning compared the process of sanctification to having braces put on our teeth. The dentist shows us a picture of how our teeth look before braces –crooked, crowded, etc.. Then the perfect smile he wants us to attain. The process is not without pain … at first the braces hurt, and we are self conscious because we don’t look like everyone around us. There are things we can’t do anymore –like chewing gum. Gradually, however, we see the positive changes and the braces don’t bother us as much.
If we take God’s word seriously, it will sometimes sting and hurt. It may destroy some cherished ideas. It may force us to give up some things we like doing. However, if we follow through faithfully, the end results will be worth it.