“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16
As we close out one year and look forward toward the beginning of a new year, we reflect on God’s blessings in our life over the last year but also reflect on our shortcomings as well. This is a time when it is productive to “examine yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5, 1 Cor. 11:28) to hopefully look for how we may improve our walk with Christ if God is gracious to grant us another year of life. As I consider my discipleship goals for the coming year, this verse has steadily come to forefront of my mind – to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”. I hope to invest and immerse myself more fully and fall in love more passionately with Christ’s word in the coming days, months, and years.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord” (Ps. 1:2a). In contrast to those who delight in sinful actions and surroundings in verse 1 of this chapter, the child of God’s delight is rather derived from the word of God. Psalm 119 is a thorough 176 verse exaltation of God’s word. In 9 verses of that chapter, the psalmist declares his chief delight is the word of God, and in 10 verses he declares his love for the scriptures. If we are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37), we must also love God’s word because the scriptures are the expression of Christ – “Search the scriptures… and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). We cannot separate a devoted love for Jesus Christ with a passionate love for His word. Simply put, we cannot love God fully without being in love with God’s word.
Do we love God’s word more than the riches of this world? “I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Ps. 119:127). “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Ps. 119:72). True spiritual riches are found in God’s word, not in material wealth that will inevitably decay and fade away. When we understand the incalculable value of the riches of God’s word will never diminish, only then will the word of God truly “dwell in you richly”.
When our chief joy and delight come from the word of God, then we desire to not just read the scriptures but continually meditate on them. If we love God’s word as we ought, then it’s no surprise that we continually desire to immerse ourselves at all times in thinking about the scriptures. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Ps. 1:2). As we meditate on the scriptures, we continually think on and ponder what we have read, letting it sink in to our hearts and minds.
When we are meditating and applying God’s word in our actions, we will have wisdom to guide our actions in our daily lives. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;” We will be able to better discern when to speak to edify another and also know when to be silent to just be a comforting presence. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” (Eccl. 3:1,7). When we do speak, we will have the wisdom to deliver the correct instruction at the appropriate time because we can offer counsel from God’s word. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” (Isaiah 50:4)
The value of filling ourselves perpetually with God’s word will inevitably overflow to others around us as well. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save myself and them that hear thee.” (1 Tim. 4:15-16). We can deliver others around us from many perils in this world when we are immersed in God’s word to such a degree that it dwells in us richly and we apply those teachings in our lives.
Being firmly grounded in God’s word will strengthen us during the time of trial. “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction” (Ps. 119:92). The word of God gives us stability in the midst of tribulation and gives us light for how we ought to walk in the midst of the trial. We gain confidence from reading of God’s deliverances of His children in the past in the scriptures and develop a great hope and expectation that God will not forsake me in the midst of my trial, just as he has not forsaken any of His people in the testimony of scripture.
The effect of that man who is constantly meditating and immersed in thinking on God’s word in Ps. 1:2 is given in the next verse – “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:3). The one who is strongly planted and deeply rooted in God’s word will be able to withstand storms when they inevitably come in our lives. They are not a weak sapling who is blown about by every wind of doctrine, but rather they are a strong sequoia that will last the test of time and withstand the turbulence of this world. I hope to set my roots more deeply in the word of God and let the word dwell in my heart richly that it may come forth and be useful in my life and the lives of others around me.
(Originally written in December 2016)