Dwelling Place

4 08 2010

[16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

(Colossians 3:16 ESV)
I was reading Colossians 3 a couple days ago and something new caught my eye that had I had missed in the many other times that I had heard, read, and studied this chapter.  Paul’s call to put on the “new self” and leave behind what died with Christ on the Cross and press forward to the new self that abounds “above all these in love” has always caught and held my attention.  However, in my concentration on the type of love that “binds everything together in perfect harmony” and the character traits that come with a new life in Christ, I never made it to verse 16 that describes a follower of Christ as someone in whom the Word dwells.  This week when my gaze reached this verse, immediately the Spirit stopped me on it.  More specifically, I was stuck on the word “dwell.”  The word dwell carries with it a connotation of living in or settling in.  So, when Paul called those who are made new in Christ to have the Word dwelling in them, he was calling Christians to not only have the Word in them but desire it to be in them.  People dwell in homes, sea creatures dwell in the sea, birds dwell in the air.  It’s where they belong, it’s where they are most comfortable and most adept.  The same is true for God’s Word.  It BELONGS in our hearts, that is where it is designed to be and that is where it has the greatest impact.  For the Word to be read, heard, preached and remain as simple sound waves or letters on a page is to take what is designed to dwell in our hearts and leave it homeless.  That’s the same as taking a fish and asking it to dwell in the treetops or throwing a lion into the ocean and asking it to hang out with Nemo.  That’s not what its design is!  God Word’s is not designed, inspired or preached for the purpose of dwelling purely on the pages of the Bible.  In fact, if God’s Word remains in the pages of the Bible then God’s Word is ineffective, dead and worthless.  It’s when regenerated Christians desire God’s Word, spend time reading, meditating and struggling with it; it’s when God’s people spend time memorizing it, living it and are refined by it that it fulfills the purpose for which it was inspired.  God’s Word is supremely effective when it DWELLS in our hearts not when it DWELLS on paper.
Paul, in Colossians 3, is detailing the marks of a new creation in Christ and one of those marks is such a strong desire for God’s Word that it dwells within us.  It resides, relaxes, lives and is most effective IN Christians.  Paul lays it out as straight as possible.  Those of us in Christ WILL have a desire for God’s Word.  One of the marks of a regenerated person is their desire to be in God’s Word.  Without God’s Word, Christians are fishers without fishing poles or nets.  Without God’s Word, Christians are gardeners without a clue how to garden.  God’s Word leads us, guide us, polishes us, refines us and challenges us.  If you don’t desire God’s Word why is that?  If you do desire God’s Word but don’t have time for it or always seem to put off getting in it, why is that?  I think many Christians today don’t have a high enough view of God’s Word that we make other things more important than spending time in it.  If you struggle (as all of us do) with being consistent in spending time with God’s Word I want to ask you how much do you value it?  Is it more valuable than 30 minutes of sleep?  Is God’s divine Word not as important as the 3 hours you spend practicing for your sports teams?  How can you guide your kids and be a Godly father or mother if you don’t know how God’s Word defines the role of mother and father?  How can we reflect Christ well if we are not spending time reading His divine Word that His Father placed here for us?
Bottomline:  God’s Word was given to man for our good and reborn Christians will desire it.  We will desire it over all the other priorities we place in our lives and we will struggle with it and spend time in it even on the days when it is the weakest desire of our heart. Why?  Because the new self desires that it “dwell” in us.
Conquered  <><
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