Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” Philippians 3:16
Today’s verse starts off with the word “let.” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. That gives the idea that we are to allow it to, to give the word permission or access to our hearts and lives. It is then something within our control, not outside of it. So many times I hear people say that they try to read the Bible, but they just can’t understand it. Or they say they just can’t memorize. Then others say they just don’t have time in their day to read, study, memorize or meditate on the Bible.
But then if I were to ask sports fans about their favorite team, they can rattle off all kinds of statistics and facts about games and players. Hunters can tell an endless facts about the animals that are their favorite targets. And quilters can give a mini seminar on how to “stitch in the ditch” or say what book and page their favorite pattern is on. I wonder why that is. If we could just apply the same devotion and enthusiasm to the word of Christ.
Here are three things that I have found that help me to have the word of Christ dwell in me.
1. When I read, I underline, highlight, take notes and journal about what I am reading. There are studies that say when you write something down with your hands (and not a keyboard) you can remember it better because it is forming a pathway in your brain. I have been journaling with quiet time notes since I was 18. That means I have 36 years of notebooks and journals. Occasionally I go back and read them. I am refreshed at how God has worked in my life in ways that I forgot about. I include my prayer items in my journals, application thoughts and ways that the Scripture jumped out at me. It’s never too late to start a quiet time journal.
2. I make memorizing a part of my life. I have been memorizing verses, chapters and books of the Bible since I was young. I just finished memorizing the book of 2 Timothy. I have to go back and review old verses to keep them in the front of my mind. I keep note cards with verses written on them, little post it notes, big ones, you name it. If I want to put something into practice or remember a promise in a difficult time, I put those verses wherever I can.
3. When I read the Bible, I expect God to speak to me. I look for how what I am reading applies to my life. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word is living and active,” and 2 Timothy 3:17 says that Scripture equips us for every good work and makes us mature, or complete. If you feel inadequate to do something, get into the Bible more and see if that equipping changes things.
Finally, Colossians 3:16 instructs us to admonish one another with all wisdom. That must be a way of putting the Word into practice. To admonish means to “reprimand, rebuke, scold, advise, or to recommend,” according to dictionary.com. 2 Timothy 3:16 relays that Scripture is profitable for teaching, for correcting and rebuking, as well as training in righteousness. Perhaps the key words are “with all wisdom.” In other words, you need the leading of the Holy Spirit to be at work when it comes to admonishing.
Billy Graham used to use the phrase, “the Bible says,” quite often in his sermons. Instead of our wisdom being from Dr. Phil or our own storehouse, it is good to speak Scripture to one another as a means of encouragement and instruction. Maybe that should be one of our go-to phrases as well. And sometimes it is admonishing when Scripture is simply shared that relates to a particular situation. Because the Word is living and active, the Holy Spirit can take it from there.
May the Word of Christ dwell in you richly today as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.