In The Sandlot (I’m just assuming you know the premise of the movie), Smalls is learning to play baseball, basically from scratch, and Benny tells him to just stand in the outfield and stick his glove up high and he (Benny) would take care of the rest. Benny then hits a deep fly ball right into Smalls glove. Thus, Smalls made his first baseball defensive play by simply putting out his glove and letting Benny do all the work. It would be great if real baseball worked that way. It would be great if real life worked that way. It would be great if spiritual growth happened that way.
While a real batter will rarely hit a ball right into your glove (though I’ve seen it happen in coach-pitch), nor will life often drop a gift right into your lap, the Bible does say that several things in the spiritual realm will work toward our growth if we will simply stick out our mitt.
There’s a strange passage in the book of Hebrews that seems almost sacrilegious. Can we really take it literally?
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (4:12)
The Bible is alive? The Bible is “active”? The Scriptures “judge” and “divide”? The author of Hebrews gives the Scriptures personal qualities. Could it be that when we read the Bible we are actually the passive agent and the text is the active power? Maybe it’s really the Bible that is reading my heart? Maybe I’m not judging the merits of what the Bible says so much as the Scriptures are somehow discerning the deepest regions of my soul and doing surgery on my heart. Hebrews seems to tell me, “Just find a way to get to the Bible and let it do the work!” “Just stand there and stick out your glove!”
Most people I know want to be better people. We want to know Jesus. We want to know God’s will. Anybody want to hear from God and know His will for your life? Anybody want to grow past bad habits and addictions? I do! There’s something available to help that happen: the living and active Word of God.
I see it happen. I read Scripture almost daily and I feel it do its thing. Something I read pierces my heart and I’m reminded of some things I said the past day. I suddenly realize there’s someone I need to encourage. I’m convicted of a corner of my life that needs cleaned up. I’m torn up by a relationship that needs reconciled. I’m faced with a crisis or tragedy and suddenly a wave of peace and reassurance rolls over me and I’m able to maintain a peaceful disposition in the midst of a stressful moment. Scripture is, quite simply, the most important catalyst for everything that is real about my faith. It is the primary source of all the spiritual growth, strength, comfort, certainty, peace, and joy that I have. I stand with my mitt in the air and God’s Word approaches my heart and does what I cannot do. Personally, I need that daily. Once a week on Sunday wouldn’t be nearly enough for the messy state of my heart!
This is especially true for peace. The Bible brings peace to stressful situations like nothing else can. I’m dead serious about this. Go to the Bible and read the 23rd Psalm over and again and you’ll feel the living Scriptures begin to work. There are many other passages like it. When you hear bad news, go stand with your glove in the air. Let Scripture take care of it.
Strange as it may be for an author to claim that the words from a book could be “living and active”, that author obviously read the same Bible as me because I get it. I agree. It just is and does what Hebrews describes. I hope you will do what so many of God’s people have done for growth, health, and most importantly (because this world is nuts!) strength- go put your mitt in the air and let Scripture take care of it; daily!