that’s what I had as I thought about these life giving, life changing words from Colossians 3:16,
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
The instruction given to me here is not to read the Word, nor to recite it or to memorize it – I am not told to study it or to understand it – no, I am told just to let the Word in, to let it come in and live and make its home with me. After all, that’s what dwell means.
And it’s that word dwell that I like so much, it resonates with me in an unexpected way that brings with it comfort, peace, hope and joy. Why? Because to dwell implies permanence – it implies moving in and making a home with – it means settling down, it means settling in for the long haul.
The traveler doesn’t dwell anywhere, he simply stays a night here, a night there. And just like the rolling stone who gathers no moss, without the act of dwelling, no relationships are formed and gathered. No wonder God wanted the Israelites to build Him a tabernacle as they wandered in the desert. The tabernacle was to be God’s dwelling place among them, so that He could dwell with them. After all, they were His people and they needed His Presence to be with them and to go with them.
For the God who dwells in unapproachable light and who ” . . . sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. (for the God who) stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40:22) for this God to desire to come down and to dwell among His chosen people, is really quite remarkable. Unfathomable, actually.
It is just as unimaginable as when Jesus left His home in glory, where He dwelt in that same unapproachable light and instead, made His home, dwelt, among us two thousand years ago. Who would leave a palace to live in poverty? Christ did, because that is where we were living, so He came and made His home with us. Unbelievable!
And now I am told to “let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly.” This is even better than His tabernacle Presence! He is not with me but in me. “Christ in me, the hope of glory” What a difference a preposition makes!
Just who am I inviting in to dwell with me? Colossians says “the Word of Christ.” John 1:1&14 tells me, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
There’s that word dwelling again. The Word who came to walk among us, is Jesus. He came to make His home with us – He came to stay. Yes, He did leave this earth, but He sent Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – (there’s that idea of dwelling being permanent) . . . the Spirit of truth. . . . you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
Jesus is the Living Word. “He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is (are you ready for this?) the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13) Now that’s a revelation! (pun intended)
No wonder Colossians 3:16 tells me to “let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly” – Jesus and the Word – they are one and the same!
The God of all the universe wants to dwell with me? wants to make His home with me? How can this be true? “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) Now that’s settling in, getting comfortable, making yourself at home, up close and personal dwelling – that’s what my Heavenly Father calls (another favorite word of mine) abiding.
Abiding is living in that place of peace and protection even while walking through the fires, floods, illnesses, hardships, losses and painful trials I experience in this broken world. They are not where I abide. I abide in Him.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) In this scenario, I am the jar of clay and the treasure in me is Christ dwelling in me through the power and presence of His Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active.” When I respond to the knock, open the door and “let the Word of God dwell in me richly,” (I guess the richly part means I let Him move into all the spaces I have to offer, holding nothing back, giving Him free access to everything since it is now His dwelling place) I have the Living Word living in me. The Word is alive because Jesus is the Word and He is alive and active as His Word accomplishes His purposes when it comes to dwell in me and in whosoever will.
My part is to “let”, to allow Christ’s words to dwell in me, to have their way, to take up residence in me, get cozy and make me their home. That’s dwelling. I just let them in, those Living Words do the work that needs to be done – in me and in the world. They have all the power.
“So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Oh, Heavenly Father, let Your teaching fall like rain and Your words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants, . . .(Deuteronomy 32:2)
Lord, may Your Living Word fall like rain on my heart, softening the surface, gaining entrance, making Your home there, putting down roots in the broken places, cleaning and healing and restoring, making Your dwelling place fit for Your Presence to abide – with me – to dwell with me . . .
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
that’s me – the lowly, the contrite – the overlooked – the invisible, and yet . . .
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
One translation says “your body is the home of the Holy Spirit . . . “, that’s dwelling – that’s moving in and taking up residence.
In Moses’s day, they had to build a tabernacle, a place where their Holy God’s Presence could dwell among them. Now, that same Holy Heavenly Father God, is willing to dwell in me and in you through His Holy Spirit. The difference between among and in – what a difference a preposition makes in my life!
Christ came to dwell – not to visit . . . Christ in me, my hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
sincerely, Grace Day