I'm reminded of paper cuts when I think about the conversion experience of the Jews who heard Peter's preaching in Acts 2. Peter preached a stunning message about Jesus, summing everything up with this declaration: "So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!"
The bible then lets us know that those who heard this message were pierced to their hearts. The message they heard implicated them and because their hearts were open to the word received through Peter's preaching, their hearts were opened to the truth.
That's what "being pierced to the heart" means. It's the job of God's word to cut us, to lay open our hidden intentions and secret motives so his truth can expose our falseness. Only then can he begin the work of creating a new heart within us.
This is what this passage of scripture from Hebrews 4 means: "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires."
Have you ever picked up the bible and begun to read, only to be stopped by the glaring immediacy of God's word as something leaps right off the page to confront you? That is the power of God's word. When God teaches us, when he pierces us to the heart with his word, it is only so he can then change us, reform us, and reshape us to be a person who does his will.
Today, resolve to give thanks the next time God's word pierces you to the heart and be receptive to the new thing God is doing in your life.