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ARE WE RICHLY INDWELT BY THE WORD?
by Philip Owen

            Every word of God is of inestimable value.  Yet, because of their particular expressiveness, some verses seem to cry out for our attention and plead for our consideration.  Such is the case with the verse we consider today:  “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).

            Permission.  Our text begins with the word let.  Whether regarded as a command or a petition, that word conjures the realization that, as with much of the Christian life, our will is critical.  We must permit or allow God to do what He wishes to do in or through us because He does not behave toward us like a celestial bulldozer, running roughshod over our will.  Voluntarily yielding to the work God desires to do in and through us is critical not only to avoid chastening but also to acquire blessing.

            Power.  We are tasked with the privilege of being filled with the power of God, namely, “the word of Christ.”  The Word of God imparts a holy energy to those who are exercised by its truth.  No amount of human knowledge, skill, and experience is capable of accomplishing what the implanted Word can produce.

            Possession.  “Let the word of Christ . . . dwell” Paul urges.  Dwelling speaks of “inhabiting” or “living.”  It includes a proprietary component, one of possession and ownership.  There is both a certain authority and liberty implied in the word.  The dweller rather than the dwelling has priority.  We are to be owned and possessed by God’s Word.  We are to allow its dictates free access to every “room” of our being, to add or remove items, to arrange our furniture, so to speak, to occupy our lives freely.

            Plenty.  The word we omitted from the previous paragraph is richly, meaning “copiously.” The Word is not to be admitted as we might warily admit a stranger to our home, just inside the door.  It is to be admitted as the owner.  The Word should have full and free access to every deed, thought, motive, desire, goal, and emotion.  We should desire the Word to govern both all we are and all we do and say.

            Place.  Note the place of dwelling:  “in you.”  The Word of God should function at the core of our being, not on the periphery of our lives, but in our hearts, minds, and wills.  The Bible as a book may be placed on a shelf, taken to church, even read and memorized.  But the Word as the God-breathed truth must be ingested so that it becomes a living part of us, in fact the vital part, the part that governs who and what we are.

            Product.  A life indwelt by the Word of Christ bears fruit in both the giving and receiving of wise teaching and admonition and in hearts that rejoice with thankfulness for the abundant goodness of God.  The verse following our text continues to describe the product of a life filled with the truth:  when the Word of Christ richly dwells within us, everything we do in word or deed will be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  For we will be His dwelling to do with as He sees fit.  May we “let the word of Christ richly dwell within” (Col. 3:16) us through reading, memorizing, studying, meditating, believing, and obeying its blessed truths.      

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