With Thankfulness 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Col 3:16)

How can we read the Bible, and fill ourselves with God’s word, and not be filled with thankfulness? Consider what the God’s word claims for itself:

  • God’s word is true (John 17:17). Through the Bible we can discover the truth about who God is, who we are, and our desperate need for a saviour. It doesn’t tell us a nice lie that we can save ourselves, it tells us the honest, hard truth of sin and saviour.
  • God’s word makes us wise for salvation (2 Tim 3:15). How could we know the good news, that Christ’s work on the cross saves us if we grasp hold of it by faith, if not for the Bible? Praise God for this glorious message!
  • God’s word sanctifies us (makes us holy – John 17:17Psalm 119:8). Without God’s word we’d be left in the dark with no clue how we should live, no idea how to please God. But in the Bible we discover how God wants us to live.
  • God’s word equips us (2 Tim 2:16-17). Now that we’re saved, and because it’s a word of truth, God’s word equips us in how to live, how to love, what to think and believe, and in what areas we need to change. God doesn’t leave us on our own, he takes us by the hand through his word.

As we approach Easter, how could we not be filled with thankfulness at what God’s word has shown us? Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, with thankfulness overflowing to others.

Turn the volume up! 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Col 3:16)

We have so much around us trying to mute or drown out God’s word. So how can we turn the volume up on God’s word? How can the word of Christ dwell richly in us? Let’s focus on the individual level now, and then look at how we do this as a group next week. Here are some basics we can all do:

Read the Bible each day – Pick a time and stick to it. Read a section or a chapter a day. That might take up to 10 minutes. Our culture suffers from biblical illiteracy – they have no idea what the Bible says. Don’t be content to be biblically illiterate.

Pray the Bible each day – What can you pray about in your reading? What did you learn about God, Christ, the world, you? Pray about it, consider it, even pray the very words back to God (“Thank you, God, that you are my shepherd, and that I don’t want.”)

Memorise the Bible each day – This is the one people get stuck on, but we shouldn’t! Take one of the shorter letters in the New Testament, and take the year to memorise. Some tips: Read one verse ten times out loud; say it from memory ten times (glancing back if you have to). The next day, recite the previous verse, then read the next verse 10 times, and recite it ten times. And keep going! Recite what you’ve learned, then add to it. When you finish the book, say it all for the next 100 days. Then move on! It won’t stay word perfect, but it’ll be very familiar! (I’m working on 1 John. Why not try Philippians?)

If we do this the word of Christ will begin to dwell in us richly.

What dwells within you? 

It’s been a dramatic few weeks, both here and abroad. In Florida we’ve seen yet another school shooting – the second worst public school shooting in US history. At this stage it’s difficult to know what motivated the attacker. Was it mental illness? Vengeance for his expulsion? Something else? What were the thoughts that were running through his mind?

Closer to home, Barnaby Joyce has been exposed as an adulterer, and now a father from that adultery. What motivated him to do this?

While there are no doubt complexities to these questions, it’s unmistakable that the answer, (at least partially in the shooter’s case), is sin. Sinful thoughts and desires. Selfishness. Arrogance. A lack of love and compassion. A desire to live for self and mould the world around them how they desired it to be.

But we can’t look down on these men. Aren’t those same thoughts and motivations in us? We get angry at others, and lash out. We selfishly expect others to serve us and our wants, and are too often thoughtless when it comes to serving in return. The sin within us is the same, even if only expressed differently. How can we battle against what is inside us?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (Col 3:16)

We must replace the words of our former sinful nature with the words of Christ. Instead of listening to those words of selfishness, we must fill our hearts with the word of Christ, who speaks of service. Instead of vengeance, slander and gossip; instead of thinking the worst of each other, we fill our hearts with grace, love, truth and generosity.

Does the word of Christ dwell in you richly? Over the next few weeks we’ll explore what that might look like.