The Intentions of The Heart

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and 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.” Hebrews 4:12        

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  This verse describes to us in great detail the power that is contained between the front and back covers of the book we bring to church each Sunday.  Not only is the Word powerful; it is living and active.  It stirs us, moves us and touches our souls.  It can pierce us and change us and cause us to do things that seem strange to the world around us. 

However, it is those last ten words in that verse that make us squirm a little bit–…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  This is where we tend to shrink back from this powerful Word.  After all, most of us don’t want our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts examined by anyone.  This is where we hide things from others, from ourselves, and where we think we hide things from God. 

The problem is, we cannot hide anything from God, especially what goes on inside our hearts and minds.

The message on Sunday dealt with the topic of rationalizing our sin.  Rationalizing is just another way of saying that we are making an excuse for something we know is wrong.  When one of my kids disobeys and gets called on it usually the first words out of their mouths are, “But, Dad…” Often they feel they have a good reason for disobeying.  I imagine it is the same when we try to rationalize our sin to God.  “But, God…”

The fact is we all try to keep our sins hidden deep down in our hearts.  When we pass each other in church on Sunday morning, no one can see what is in our hearts.  We can say all the right things and fool our friends, but we cannot fool God.

If we continue to keep rationalizing our sin it will eventually begin to control us.  Paul says in Romans 6:16, Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

We have a choice to make:  we can continue rationalizing our sin—explaining it away—or we can confess it to the One that can free us from its chains.  In one choice is found freedom, in the other slavery. 

I know the things I struggle with.  I know just the right words to say to make myself feel better about my sin.  I also know that I am only fooling myself if I continue to rationalize my sin.  When I confess my sin and let my heart be freed from its sinful intentions, I can feel the sharp and living Word of God separating me from the sin that can destroy me. 

Father, please make me aware of my attempts at rationalizing my sin.  I don’t want to do anything that will cause me to be separated from you.  I know that you cannot bear to look upon my sin, so help me to realize what I am doing and with your power, stop.  Help me to stay in your Word so that you speak to me and keep me walking in your ways.