My German shepherd was starving to death, and we didn’t know what to do. Sophie got twelve, yes, twelve cups of food a day, and at a year old, she was only forty pounds. After many tests, the vet diagnosed her with a pancreatic problem called EPI, which kept her from digesting her food. As a result, whatever she ate went through her system without nourishing or feeding her body. With the help of pancreatic enzymes, Sophie is now thriving.
Why Aren’t We Thriving?
As a culture, America is starving, and so are some of her churches. Why? Because we want milk, not meat. We are not feeding on the one thing we need most, the Word. God made us to have intimacy with him through his Holy Spirit, prayer, and Scripture. Without the catalyst of God’s Word, we won’t thrive spiritually.
However, we need to digest the Word before we can absorb it and do what it says. But, if we barely open the Book, how will that happen?
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit…”Hebrews 4:12
The Living Word
The word living means God’s words are alive, and they give life. Active is the Greek word energes, which resembles the English word energy. God’s Word and words are full of life and energy. God’s words are to achieve something in our hearts and lives. More than ever, Scripture needs to become more than head knowledge. God’s Word shouldn’t just go in one ear and out the other. Once in the heart, it will be absorbed and nourish our very soul.
God’s Word is sharper than a sword, able to pierce through the soul and spirit. The word pierce means to penetrate or get through. This may be one reason we may not care to read the Bible. Unless the Word penetrates our hearts, we will not grow and change.The word pierce means to penetrate or get through. This may be one reason we may not care to read the Bible. Unless the Word penetrates our hearts, we will not grow and change. @DPavlantos #VineWords #AreYouThrving? Click To Tweet
Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions, and our spirit is what the Creator breathed into us. They are often at war with one another. Our spirit communes with God through the Holy Spirit while our soul is everything that makes us who we are.
Soul and Spirit
So, why would the Word divide the soul and spirit? God wants us to be Spirit-driven, not soul-driven. The Spirit is love, peace, truth, patient, gentle, kind, self-controlled, faithful, and joy. This is how God wants us to function.
The soul can be moody, self-centered, turbulent, depressed, thoughtless, self-driven, lacking self-control, and deceitful. Satan influences our soul, by manipulating our thoughts. If we are not in the Word of Truth, under the perfect power of the Spirit of Truth, we get off track.
God wants us to be Spirit-led and Word-led. One without the other is only half the equation. Unfortunately, many overdo one or the other. We become so Spirit-led we assume everything we think is of the Holy Spirit and will act and speak out without the guidelines of Scripture. However, being overly Word-lead can stifle or quench the Holy Spirit, so we can no longer hear him because everything becomes an intellectual experience. There needs to be a balance.
What Is Dull of Hearing?
In Hebrews 5:11-12, the author rebukes his readers for becoming dull of hearing. He says:
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.”Hebrews 5:11-12
The Greek word for dull refers to “a condition of spiritual apathy and laziness that prevents spiritual development.”  Isn’t that how we can feel, too?
Studying Scripture takes time and effort.
God does not think less of us if we are not in his Word.
But, have you ever thought how it must sadden him to see the time we invest in things having no heavenly value?
Do we spend too much time on our phones and iPads or binge-watching our favorite shows on Netflix? Yes. Do we need to improve? Yes. Am I preaching to myself? Yes.
The answer lies in putting those things away for a set time each day and getting out our Bibles to let the Holy Spirit guide us through the Word one verse at a time. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Reading one verse and letting God speak to you through it is better than reading one chapter or an entire book just so we can say we did it.
If you are a parent, can you imagine letting your ten or fifteen-year-old still drink from a sippy cup or a bottle for each meal? Unfortunately, that is the state of a lot of churches in our country. We need more than milk–we need solid food. We need to get back to reading, discussing, and studying God’s Word. Our spiritual health depends on it.
Are you thriving or just getting by?
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your Word and your Spirit. Help us to know you better and love you more. Give us heart knowledge and not just head knowledge–so we can live better lives for You. In Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen.
Copyrighted 2021: Stephanie Pavlantos: Are we Thriving? All Rights Reserved
Meet our Contributor:
Stephanie Pavlantos is an award-winning writer who is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for over fifteen years, speaking at ladies’ retreats, at her church, and over the internet.
Her book, Jewels of Hebrews (Mount Zion Ridge Press), won third place in the Selah Awards at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
She is an ordained minister, holding credentials since 2019.
Stephanie has served as the president of the Hudson, Ohio chapter of Word Weavers, and is a speaker for the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference.
She is a regular speaker at PJNet. tv.
Stephanie served as editor/social media administrator for VineWords: Devotions and More from 2019-2022. She is co-editor and contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships, Volumes One and Two (VineWords Publishing). She continues to serve as a Bible study/devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More.
Stephanie works for the Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department, as well as teaching their online classes. She holds weekly Zoom Bible studies, covering topics such as the Jewish roots of Christianity; the Four Covenants; and other themes.
She is published in Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Charisma Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, and Faith Beyond Fear. Stephanie is a contributing author to Feed Your Soul with the Word of God (Lighthouse Bible Studies).
Married for twenty-seven years, she and her husband Mike have three children: Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie has adopted animals of all kinds, including dogs, ducks, goats, and chickens.
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