We can get into thinking ruts, but the right word at the right time can lift us out and move us into new and better thinking. So we need to be searching for the Rhema words.
It was only a short sentence that he said, but the words seemed to have power behind them. It was like a new path had opened up for me that gave me some encouraging hope. They were the right words at the right time. I quickly wrote them down in my notebook so I could reread them later.
Words can have that effect. They some times jump out of seemingly nowhere and say ‘This is for you’.
Words such as
- You have worth
- You matter
- You can do this
You can always tell a great orator. They are wordsmiths. Somehow, with clever creativity, they weave together a few words, tell a story, and move you emotionally. Something changes in you.
But what if there was a sentence that was custom-made for you. An encouragement, a piece of wisdom, an acknowledgment.
The writer of the proverbs tells us this.
The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.
I’ve never had a piece of custom-made jewelry. The nearest I have come to this was when my mother used to knit woolen jerseys for me as a child. She would measure me up with a tape measure and write down on a pad my measurements. It was a very special feeling when she would present to me a perfectly fitting jersey, custom-made for me.
Some words are custom-made for you that you need to hear.
Rhema and Logos
In the Bible, we find that there are two different Greek words to refer to the word of God. One of these words is logos, and the other is rhema.
Logos refers to the written text—lots and lots of words. We read the logos, and we can gain knowledge about God and history and all sorts of amazing things.
Rhema is different and refers to the intimate speaking of God to us. It is that breath of truth we need to hear. From knowledge, we move to knowing.
Jesus knew the importance of listening for the rhema.
‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word (rhema)
that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4
The words (rhema) that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63
I have listened to a lot of logos. I have gained a lot of knowledge from studying the Bible and reading many books. But in this quest, I have longed for the rhema. It’s those custom-made God breathes that excite me the most.
I so need that truth to fill my brain and rewire its circuity.
How do you discover a rhema?
You won’t catch fish in a desert. You go where fish swim.
If you want gold, you go to where it’s buried.
One of my enduring memories of my parents was their reading of a devotional bible study every morning. It was one of their ways of searching things out, looking for the rhema.
Much of what we most need to hear and know is hidden away like rare gemstones.
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2
I have a little phrase that keeps me searching. I have to ‘get in the way’ of God to discover what I need to hear. I keep knocking on the door of God’s wisdom house, asking for bread in the middle of the night. I ‘get in the way’, seek, and knock.
“Here’s what I’m (Jesus) saying:
Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
Too many of us are sitting and waiting for a God to do home deliveries of truth and then to spoon-feed us like babies. It’s in the seeking that opens our brain up into new ways of living.
I was once a pastor to a group of people where most of them struggled with serious mental illness. One of the ladies in the group had severe paranoid schizophrenia. She would frequently come to wild and delusional conclusions about people and situations. Along with health professionals, I would help her to work through these. Shame would come, and we would talk and walk through the struggle.
Many people found her difficult to be around. They lost patience with her.
I remember her one day telling me about her Bible reading. That every day she would read the scriptures and ponder on them.
I suggested that we read them together and talk about them. She pulled out a very worn bible with underlined verses and notes in the margin.
Here is what excited me. She was getting in the way of God. She was knocking on the door, seeking the truth, looking for the Rhema, and I was invited to part of her exploration. She may have been discounted by the rich and socially acceptable, but she was adored by God.
Feeding on rhema
Recently I had a rhema breathed on to me. Here it is.
‘I’m making garlands for God, my God.’
That may not speak to you a great deal, it may seem irrelevant, but for my heart, it speaks the truth.
I felt its breath when I was reading Psalm 20
See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we’re making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall. Psalm 20:7-8
It’s so easy to have our focus on what others are achieving. Their supposed successes, their ‘polished chariots’ and ‘groomed horses’. Comparisonitis kills the soul. The psalmist takes us to where our true focus is meant to be. Doing something beautiful and delighting to God.
So, ‘Im making garlands for God’ via my writing, gardening, and general life activities.
Every day I am presented with ‘polished chariots’ and ‘groomed horses’ that can sicken me with comparisonitis, but I feed on truth, on rhema, and therefore I retrain the brain.
I have added, ‘I’m making garlands for God, my God.’ to my thinking compass. I read that compass every day to help me keep on course. Slowly and surely, I am creating a new rope bridge in my brain. Every time I repeat the phrase ‘I’m making garlands for God, my God.’ in my brain, that synapse in the brain gets stronger and stronger.
When you receive a Rhema, it’s your responsibility to care for it. To memorize it and take it into your thinking.
We can get into thinking ruts, but the right word at the right time can lift us out and move us into new and better thinking. So we need to be searching for the Rhema words.Mental health is ... seeking after that Rhema word. The right word at the right time. Click To Tweet
Quotes to consider
- Our great problem is trafficking in unlived truth. We try to communicate what we’ve never experienced in our own life. Dwight L. Moody
- Transformation is possible. It is possible to acquire the consciousness of Christ. It is possible to know God, not just believe in God. And it is possible to engage life with the wisdom that flows from this deep inner knowing. David Benner
- Nothing digs ditches like shovel fulls of dirt. Rick Hanson
Questions to answer
- What have been some words that have met you just at the right time?
- Where do you ‘Ask, seek, and knock’ for your daily rhema bread?
- Have you ever had something custom-made for you? What feelings did that generate in you?
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Barry Pearman lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and writes about Mental Health and Spiritual Formation. In the past, Barry has been a pastor to people struggling with Mental Illnesses. Find out more about Barry here.
Get his free books – Out of the Darkness: Help for your depression and Four Spiritual Exercises from the Bible for your Mental Health