For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. (Heb. 4:12)

The image of God’s Word as a sword is a popular one. We love to envision it as a weapon in our hands, equipping us for this fight of faith. We charge into battle with sword raised high in true heroic fashion, ready to take on all the evil in the world. And to a certain extent, this is faithful to Scripture. But it is not the full story. In fact, in today’s passage we are challenged with quite a different angle on this understanding. And if we’re honest, it is one that should make us nervous.

Instead of casting a vision of the Word as a weapon in our hands, Hebrews 4 describes it as a sword with the blade turned toward us. We are not wielding it. But it is wounding us. This sword penetrates our defenses and piercing our hearts. This sharp truth cuts through our outer lines of protection and reveals what we are guarding in the deepest places. It divides motive and action, thought and speech, religion and relationship. Be warned: This weapon is dangerous. It is much easier to handle when we are swinging it at someone else, foe and friend alike. But as it turns toward us, it starts to do its real work—revealing, rebuking, and restoring.

Surrender to the sword’s work in your life.

Matt LeRoy is coauthor of The Way Forwardand Awakening Grace(WPH).