Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (copiously, abundantly, much in quantity), teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
The Greek word translated “dwell” in the above verse is enoikeó (ἐνοικέω). The word is only used five times in the New Testament. Three of those verses underscore that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwells in me.
… God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … Colossians 3:16
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (ESV)
According to HELPS Word-studies enoikeó means to dwell at home, in one’s personal residence. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds that it means to dwell in one and influence him for good. That is an amazing thing. The word of Christ, which is Christ himself, dwelling in me as his personal residence, at home here in me, influencing me for good.
But what really captured my attention was what Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers said about this verse:
“The word of Christ … It is to ‘dwell in their hearts.’ Hence it is the ‘engrafted word’ (James 1:21)–the truth of Christ conceived in the heart, striking root into it, and making it its dwelling-place.”
I love that picture – the Word of Christ striking root into my heart! It reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the farmer sowing seed on different types of ground. He told of seed that “fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Matthew 13:6). Later Jesus explained it this way:
The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he remains for only a season. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. Matthew 13:20-21
Trouble in this life is ubiquitous and persecution will come if we continue on, walking in his footsteps. Trouble tends to do one of two things – harden us, or plow up the stony ground of our hearts. In other words, we can either turn a deaf ear, turn our backs to the Word of God revealed and confronting us (especially hard words we don’t want to hear), or respond and receive the Word.
Roots cannot sink deep into stony ground. The plowing is part of the process of sanctification. Little by little, God puts his finger on things that need to change in us, and little by little we surrender. J.D. Walt calls this response to the revealed Word “true worship: You have revealed yourself to me and I have responded.” 1
Let’s allow the Word made flesh to influence for good. He dwells within us and walks along with us. Let’s invite him to be at home in our hearts. Let’s allow his Word to strike root there, sinking deep. Let’s actively pursue this by proclaiming the Word, by owning it for our lives.
“Speak [God’s Word], pray it, or sing it, repeat it several times. Let it sink into your soul and lift you; the angels will rejoice with you, and your Father God hears your every word. He will provide for and guide you by your faithfulness.” — Alan Kearns https://devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/2022/08/08/a-proclamation/
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
1J.D. Walt https://seedbed.com/and-then-this-happens/
Photo, Roots by Broderick https://flic.kr/p/8dTTt