The Indwelling Word

[Dr. Mel Lawrenz is Minister at Large for Elmbrook Church. Follow on Twitter: @MelLawrenz – Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebrooknetwork ]

I love being around people who have so deeply taken the word of God into their lives that it has shaped the very way they think, their overall attitude toward life, their reactions to minor and major events, even their temperament. This is the fruit, developed by the Holy Spirit, of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the signs that the word of God has truly gotten lodged into the deepest part of who we are–into the heart–where opinions are formed and motives are birthed, where emotions are sparked and decisions are set.

These are not people who look to impress others by quoting Scripture all the time, or who feel obligated to slap a verse on every event of life. They so respect Scripture that they avoid twisting it to suit their purposes. The Bible is never a weapon in their hands, and not merely a tool. It is more than an encyclopedia of spiritual knowledge. It is the voice of God– sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout–but always a revelation of God’s own pure character. It is thus the wisdom of God, the power of God, the love of God, the light of God, the truth of God. They read the Bible because they long to know God and to have a God-filled life.

But how does the word of God get firmly planted in us?

Whenever I have run across Colossians 3:16, which says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” it has always challenged and enthused and comforted me. “Dwell in you richly.” Of course that’s what God wants! I’m not a computer hard drive whose purpose it is to collect more and more data. I’m not a student hoping against hope to get all the answers right on the final exam. I’m a member of God’s household, and I get to learn with my brothers and sisters what God’s word through the prophets and the apostles is, and to ask God to make that word go down deeply and effectively, down to a place where it won’t get blown away by the winds of today’s concerns. I can ask God to make it take root there, so it will dwell there, and nobody can take it away. And it will not lie dormant. It will, like well-planted seed, sprout and grow, and then put down roots, and finally be ready for harvesting and digesting. We take it in as seed, but it becomes a nourishing feast.

The way I look at people who have had a pattern of Scripture digestion over the years is that the word which they consume faithfully is transformed into the spiritual muscle tissue of their lives. The word of God actually becomes part of who they are.

These people do not view Scripture as a collection of magical sayings which work wonders when voiced, but they consistently act out of the truth of Scripture. Their reactions to people around them are governed by grace because they have a graduate degree in grace, as it were (in learning and in experience). They react with truth because their consciences have been trained and shaped to stay within the bounds of honest, authentic reality. Their instincts, which are as naturally fallen as any of us, have been retrained. They don’t even think: “what is the biblical thing to do or say?” because biblical ethics and ethos have become essential to who they are. It is what is promised in the new covenant when God said, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).

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6 thoughts on “The Indwelling Word”

  1. With the greatest humility I must concor as his spirit lives within

    I have witnessed transformation you could not imagine

    Said as he left this world I would send my spirit

    I appreciate your writing as it means much

    If you were in charge how would you govern?

    I experienced that and now retired

    Many say kill the old

    It is like this as one who went to the moon and came home

    What is next after that

    Said this

    Only by love can you know me

    Truth

    Love

    Nine

  2. Dr. Lawrenz,

    I am not a member of any church yet Elmbrook lets me and my family worship God as we please

    only an opinion as the word does not indwell but only his spirit does as he promised

    I believe this as his spirit will indwell anything or anybody that loves unconditionally

    he said this as you shall know me by your love for one another

    to understand the bible without the spirit is pure folly

    what is a fundamental

    he is fundamental as what he taught and most importantly how he lived

    you have a lead pastor living his life in Sherman park in Milwaukee

    as I approve as income inequality is rampant in our society

    just what he would have done

    just an opinion

    the right thing to do

    move and I will send my spirit to guide you

    Nine

  3. I have an advanced degree in American government through experience.

    “These people do not view Scripture as a collection of magical sayings which work wonders when voiced, but they consistently act out of the truth of Scripture. Their reactions to people around them are governed by grace because they have a graduate degree in grace, as it were (in learning and in experience). They react with truth because their consciences have been trained and shaped to stay within the bounds of honest, authentic reality. Their instincts, which are as naturally fallen as any of us, have been retrained. They don’t even think: “what is the biblical thing to do or say?” because biblical ethics and ethos have become essential to who they are. It is what is promised in the new covenant when God said, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).”

    Most excellent Dr. Lawrenz, however, I must agree and disagree as the internet defines reality now as many ask about their personal lives what is truth?

    As private companies decide for us what truth is as America needs foreign missionaries to tell us who Jesus really is as that is the truth I see….

    I love Elmbrook Chrurch….

    I can not join it officially as I am outside

    house groups to tell me what truth is

    truth control

    here is truth Elmbrook has the best coffee as they should expand their hours

    a ministry I could join

    love is demonstrated

    Nine

  4. Dr. Lawrenz,

    What came first the chicken or the egg?

    the spirit or the word?

    He said one would know me by the love demonstrated

    how is that done in today’s day and age?

    the spirit led life is the life of mystery and led by him

    the gifted spiritually prey and all those around them see things happen that can not be explained

    I am surrounded by such people as that is why I still believe

    as he left this world he said that he would send his spirit

    I have witnessed that power personally

    what would I know

    Nine

  5. He said this

    I will send my spirit

    As evidence of my return

    Love demonstrated

    Only evangelical I could be

    A church lead by his spirit

    Love will overcome

    Nine

  6. This is what I think

    A personal opinion

    America has a two party system

    Who is wrong

    What is sin in a political system but to divide his church

    Politics is division

    Truth comes from within

    Led by his spirit

    Love demonstrated is him followed

    Said will know me by love demonstrated

    Said follow me

    Love demonstrated

    Said I shall send my spirit

    To demonstrate love

    As that is the simple spirit led life

    Life is profoundly simple led by the spirit

    Just an opinion

    Nine

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