August 23, 2013

Ways To Please God V: Dwell In The Word and Pray Unceasingly

Let Christ’s Message Dwell In Us

Colossians 3:16 ~ Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

The message of course means the Word of God, the Gospel, etc. The truth of Scripture had been infiltrated in Colossae and had been corrupted by false teachers/teachings, traditions and nonsensical religious rules. Paul wrote Colossians to set things straight.

It is not the word of false teaching that brings the Colossians to Christ. It is the word of God or Christ Himself that brings them to Himself. So too is the effect on us. False teachings and the traditions of men save no one. It is the Word of God that brings life and maintains it.

1 Peter 1:23-25 “…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

If the word of God has transformed us then it will most certainly dwell in us richly.

James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

Again we see a Greek word that warrants a closer look. The word dwell is ἐνοικείτω /enoikeito and means to “feel at home with.” It also means to intensify. Therefore when seen together the truth is “at home” in us and by its nature intensifies or increases within us in power and effect. It can therefore be surmised that if truth is life and there is an overabundance of God’s truth growing in us…there will be an overflow of life into an outflowing of the truth…or fruit seen by others. Because what is fruit? It is an overflow of life from a plant that produces within itself the very thing needed to create more new life…seeds.

1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

We must also understand that Colossians is an Epistle or a public letter written to a group of people, not an individual. Paul is telling the entire church at Colossae. He is not telling just individuals to let the word dwell in them but it can also be interpreted that Paul wants the word to dwell or find itself at home in the entire community of believers. Why? The implication is that by all being positively affected by the word the Spirit will also dwell in unity in the believers and they will all be of like mind and Spirit. They will dwell in harmony and in unity in Christ.

Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. [In the context of the entire Body of Believers]

Here too we again see the dwelling in peace of Christ through the Spirit (Colossians 3:15)

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17 ~ Pray without ceasing

When I dwell in the Word and in the mindset that was mandated and commanded by God I am in the right place. I am comfortable. It is where I have been commanded to be. This sort of connects to Paul’s pray without ceasing. Paul’s prayer without ceasing is not necessarily “prayer” as we understand it but keeping God at the forefront of things. That is what I believe goes on here when we are not literally praying but dwelling in Him and He in us. I’d say that it is a symbiotic relationship but it’s not, God does not need us. It is a dependent relationship, we need Him.

I pray to maintain a desire for God. Praying this desire to God is not hard for me. The pursuit is within me. I believe it is driven by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual man is driven by the Spirit to spiritual matters. Of like to like. God already knows the desires of my heart but He has commanded me to pray anyway for my own good. God already knows how things will be and how they will turn out. I am not so much praying so things will be different so much as I am praying to keep myself aligned to Him, His will and linked to His holiness. Left to our own devices and abilities we do not have the strength to stay locked into God in a materialistic society.

When Paul said to pray without ceasing he isn't saying get on your knees in a constant manner physically, he meant something along the lines of always having God first. He needs to be the primary and supreme factor in the decisions in your life. When people say you need to rest in the Lord and find that quiet time I believe that too looks different to different people. I personally cannot lock myself away in a closet or small quiet room. Well, at least it wouldn't be my first preference. It would make my kind of batty.

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