Monday, February 1, 2010

“Does God’s Word feel AT HOME in my life?”


Colossians 3:16 (NIV) 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.

Colossians 3:16 (MSG) Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God!


Although the early Christians had access to the Old Testament and freely used it, they did not yet have the New Testament or any other Christian books to study. Their stories and teachings about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music, and so music became an important part of Christian worship and education.

Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day by day: (1) Imitate Christ's compassionate, forgiving attitude (Col 3:12-13); (2) let love guide your life (Col 3:14); (3) let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Col 3:15); (4) always be thankful (Col 3:15); (5) keep God's Word in you at all times (Col 3:16); (6) live as Jesus Christ's representative (Col 3:17).


As I thought about the application of this verse, my mind went back to what author Rick Renner said while writing about Colossians 3:16:

Many years ago when I was speaking in a particular church, the pastor informed me that because the church couldn't afford a hotel for me, I'd be staying that week with a family from his church. When I arrived at this family's home, the host met me at the front door, showed me my bedroom, and pointed out the bathroom and kitchen. Then the entire family ignored me for the rest of the week!

If I asked the family members a question, they pretended not to hear me. When it was time to eat, they informed me that it wasn't their responsibility to feed me and that I could just take care of myself because they weren't there to nurse me.

Words cannot describe how uncomfortable I was in that home! Everything that family did let me know that they wished I wasn't there. When that week concluded, I was so happy to move out of that miserable predicament! I pledged that I would never let myself be put in that kind of situation again.

How about you? Have you ever stayed as a guest in a home where the people made you feel very unwelcome and unwanted?

I remember that when this happened, I was studying Colossians 3:16, where it says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." The chilly reception I felt in that home caused me to look at my own heart and ask, What kind of reception have I given the Word of God in my life? I wanted to know:

  • Have I given God's Word the kind of reception it deserves, or have I ignored it and given it the "cold shoulder"?
  • Does God's Word feel at home in my life, or does it feel unwanted?
  • Have I rolled out the red carpet and given God's Word a grand reception, making it clear that I love the Word and am privileged to have it dwelling in my heart?

In Colossians 3:16, Paul tells us that the word of Christ should "dwell" in us richly. I decided to go get my Greek New Testament and study the word "dwell" so I could determine what kind of reception I had given God's Word in my own life.

I found that the word "dwell" is taken from the word enoikeo. The word enoikeo is a compound of the words en and oikos. The word en means in, and the word oikos is the Greek word for a house. When the two words are compounded together, they form the word enoikeo, which means to dwell in a house. This is the same Greek word used in both New Testament literature and secular literature to signify someone who takes up permanent residency in a home. The person is so at home and contented in this new location that he has chosen to make it his permanent dwelling place for the rest of his life.

So when Paul tells us to let the word of Christ "dwell" in us, he is beseeching us to give God's Word such a grand, welcoming reception that it literally feels at home in us and therefore comes to take up permanent residency!

Does the Word have this kind of place in your life? Does it really "dwell" in you richly? Does it feel at home and comfortable in your life? Or is the Word of God treated like a stranger that is occasionally welcomed into your life as a visitor? Be honest!

Why not make today the day that the Word of God comes to take up permanent residency in your life? Throw the door open, roll out the red carpet, and welcome the Word of God as a new, permanent resident in your heart!


"Lord, how can I ever thank You enough for the power of Your Word? I am so honored that You would place such a gift in my life. Help me to appreciate it, value it, and give it the kind of reception it deserves. I want to make Your Word a top priority in my life; I want it to feel welcomed, wanted, and deeply loved. Starting today, I open my heart wider than ever before and ask that Your Word come to richly dwell inside me! I pray this in Jesus' name!"