“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom… (Col 3:16)
These words are the most awkward to obey. The idea of ‘admonishing one another’ might fill us with dread – and it doesn’t matter if we’re the ones doing the admonishing, or receiving it! But if we want the word of Christ to dwell in us richly, then we can’t put these words to the side.
The question that naturally comes is: how does admonishing each other achieve mean the word of Christ will dwell in us richly? To answer that, we need to understand the purpose of God’s word – or one of its purposes, at least. God’s word, by the power of the Spirit, changes us to be more like Jesus.
When we read the Bible, it’s not meant to merely inform the mind. It should be changing our hearts, desires, and actions. As we read the word we should make every effort to become more like Jesus and to weed out the sin that clings so closely.
So why admonish one another? Because of love. We realise, like us, they are prone to see sin in others but to be blind to their own. We mourn that others struggle with the same weakness. So in love we come alongside them, and in wise gentleness we point out their fault.
We don’t do it proudly or judgmentally. We examine ourselves to see if we struggle in this area too; if we do, then we acknowledge it as we admonish, and strive to combat sin together. If we don’t struggle in that area, we remember that we struggle in ways they don’t.
And how do we receive such admonishment? With thankfulness that God uses his people, that his word would dwell in us richly.