Like most of you, I grew up watching lots of cartoons on television. Some of my earliest experiences involved the antics of Felix the Cat, the never-ending and always amusing Tom and Jerry as well as the operatic Mighty Mouse singing, “Here I come to save the day!”, which I have been known to sing to my kids who all stand with blank, wondering, incoherent faces.
Then, of course, I remember the “after school” routine which began with the witty and mischievous Woody Woodpecker followed by an always failing, “Wilma” yelling Fred Flintstone. Next came my favorite and still beloved Hannah Barbara produced Scooby Do. The thing I loved about that show was that it was never a ghost, goblin, zombie or witch. It was always some man or woman wearing a mask. Oh, how times have changed!
Today, I must admit it, I do enjoy the occasional adventures in Bikini Bottom with Spongebob Squarepants. Patrick makes me laugh and everyone knows someone a little like Squidward.
Now all of these cartoons are called “animations.” They take a picture and bring it to life, and in doing so, they tell a story. The word animation means “a bestowing of life” and is often used in the context of expressing a liveliness or vigor.
There is an often neglected but profoundly important doctrine that is taught in the Bible that we call the Doctrine of Animation. It is the doctrine that describes the activity of the Bible as described in passages like Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 19:7-9 and Psalm 119 that describe the Word as a life-giving, life-changing power. Look for it in the following verse:
 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
In Psalm 19:7-9 we are told the following about the Word:
 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
This doctrine of animation stresses the powerful and life-changing activity of the Scripture. The Word of God is unlike any other book known to man in that it possesses a living quality that stems from its divine origin as the unique God-breathed book.
There are two images that may be helpful to illustrate what the doctrine of animation looks like. The first one comes from the movie, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy with his female sidekick looks from above deep into a chamber and she says, “Indy, it looks like the floor is moving.” Indy takes a torch and throws it inside only to discover that the floor is completely covered by layers of wiggling and slithering snakes of all shapes and sizes. The second illustration comes from the field of fishing, or angling as it is properly called. I remember going to a store and buying a cup of maggots. When the lid is taken off there is a mound of wiggling creatures all trying to climb here, there and everywhere.
(strategic pause here for the reader to regroup, wipe the face and move on without vomiting again…)
So, just think about those images and imagine the Word of God at work in your heart in the same way. Once it is there it begins to go to work, wiggling and stretching each and every way seeking to encourage, warn, discern and comfort. The Word of God does this because it is “alive and powerful (or energetic)”.
A couch potato is alive, but he/she is not energetic at all. The Word of God is both alive and energetic. It doesn’t just sit there, it is always at work accomplishing God’s good pleasure in us.
So, the implications of this doctrine are screaming at us to “delight” in God’s Word by reading it, studying it, listening to Pastors who preach it and teach it faithfully, living it, sharing it and guarding it.
I am thankful for the doctrine of animation…