Posted April 04, 2016
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. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Our lives are guided by words and stories. All humans alike ask the questions:
Where did we come from?
Why are we here?
Where are we headed?
The answers to these questions shape our life’s trajectory, from major decisions to simple everyday ones. In Colossians 3, Paul encourages the church in Colossae to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly. The “word of Christ” mentioned points us to the gospel (see Colossians 1:5), the whole story of Christ’s identity & redemption mission. That singular Story is to govern our lives and helps situate us in our stories! This word, this Story, is to dwell in us not casually or poorly, but intentionally and richly. Sam Storms comments:
The word Paul uses translated “dwell” should not be taken as some sort of inert or static presence. It has a dynamic force and envisions an operative and transformative and powerful force within and among us. I say “within and among us” because Paul likely has in view more than simply an individual experience. Given the contextual emphasis on the corporate reality of the “one body” and our obligations one to another (see vv. 11-15), the “word of Christ” must dwell “among us”, that is to say, in our midst as the body, exercising its authority and power within the life of the gathered community of God’s people.
Thus, Paul’s point is that we must grant the “word of Christ” the highest priority and place in the corporate experience of the church. It must be preached, proclaimed, explained, and applied. Whatever use is made of drama, multi-media displays, or other forms of communication, “the word of Christ” should be the focus. It should dwell “in us” individually and “among us” corporately (by the way, either of these is a legitimate rendering of the Greek), not haphazardly or insignificantly, but “richly”! In other words, let the truth about Jesus be taught and known and obeyed in all its glory and beauty and richness. Give it full sway. Let its intrinsic power and splendor do its work in and for you.
Would that we might leave every church service and every small group gathering saying, “The word of Christ dwelt richly among us here today! All that we know of him governed what we said and sang and did by way of ministry.” To the extent that we do reveals how clearly we understand Paul’s counsel and how committed we are to implementing it in church life.
As we gather with the Church to pray and sing and hear God’s Word, may we be re-situated within Christ’s story. May our longings and desires be re-tuned and reminded of Who they were intended for: Christ! May His Word and Story dwell in us richly as we gather, as well as when we are sent out into the world.
Song by Aaron Strumpel.
Artwork by Chris Wright.
Devotional by Joel Limpic.