I concluded last week’s blog with the following question:
Do you remember when you last felt the Word of Christ dwelling richly in you?
Now, before you read further, pause and identify that moment or those moments when you recall sensing the deep indwelling of the presence of Christ in your life.
We never seem to have enough money, time, sleep, coffee, joy, love, etc.
Truth is, life is hard. Time runs out for all of us. Money is in short supply for many of us.
It seems we live our lives from scarcity.
Yet Kingdom living offers an experience in direct opposition to scarcity. Kingdom living invites us to live life from abundance, joy, and delight.
Would that disciples of Jesus enjoy the gifts of abundance, joy, and delight as consistent, even habitual experiences.
This is the experience to which Paul is calling us when he invites us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”
In order to that, let the Word richly dwell within, we need to reflect deeply and consistently on the gift of Christ and the Kingdom He invites us to enjoy.
This means that, in order to enjoy the rich gifts of the Kingdom, everything we know – particularly about reading and hearing – is going to have to change.
Beginning with how we read and interact with His Word!
When I consider Colossians 3:16, and other verses like it (cf., John 14:23, Galatians, 2:20, 4:19, Ephesians 3:17 and Colossians 1:27), I am immediately drawn to three words/phrases that convey the type of depth God’s Word invites us to taste and enjoy. A depth that’s powerfully experienced in the practice of sacred or contemplative hearing/reading.
The words/phrases to which I am referring are:
- Let the Word of Christ
- Dwell in
- You Richly
Paul begins Colossians 3:16, which is tightly tied to verses 12 – 15, by inviting us to surrender. His invitation, “Let the word of Christ dwell,” is couched in the imperative verbal form. Not to get to sticky here, I should note that the imperative is often taught as the “form of command.” In other words, when we see a term in the imperative mood, we often hear, “This means we must obey,” or something to that effect.
While the imperative mood does, at times, convey the sense of command, it’s far more complex than this reduction to its simplest form. In fact the imperative mood conveys command as well as expressions such as “intention, exhortation, polite request and invitation.” As such, it’s not an expression of a fixed reality as much as it is an invitation to what could be when one aligns one’s heart with the heart of Christ.
Christ: Always and Ever Inviting Us to Allow Him To Enter In!
In this specific case, Paul is inviting us to make space for the Word of Christ to dwell within. His exhortation is one of an invitation from a dear friend who invites you to join him or her in a wonderful experience. It’s an invitation we should hear as one that’s for our good. It’s an invitation which is designed to elicit the emotional response of joy and anticipation.
It’s also an invitation that demands a response from us. If we are going to “allow” someone into our home and heart, then we are going to make space for them and craft out time – often significant amounts of it – to be with them. When we respond to someone’s invitation to dwell or be with them, we make time on our calendar for them. As we make time on our calendar, then our choices leading up to our time together revolve around preparing to be with them. We have to make arrangements for someone to watch the kids or for someone to do something that we need to get done, etc.
In a similar way, the invitation Paul extends to us is one that he hopes or exhorts us to respond to with delight, joy, and anticipation. As we respond in joy, we then begin to craft out the space which moves the invitation from the realm of what’s possible to what’s probable.
Before I continue, let me ask you a question. It’s a question that I’d like you to pause and reflect deeply on.
“When is the last time you picked up the Bible with a sense of joy, delight and anticipation?”
Likely, it’s been sometime. Indeed, reading has already failed us. There is so much more the Lord hopes for and offers to His disciples.
Joy and delight become more obtainable as we re-frame the way we approach the Word of Christ.
It’s an experience we can have on an ongoing basis but it’s one that requires we learn and practice a new – and ancient – way of handling Scripture.
It’s one we’ll begin to explore in next week’s post!
Disrupting to renew!