Living the 'Christian life' seems to bring about so many disruptive feelings among His children and those who are lost. Why such division? Why do people become easily offended? I take a deep breath and let it out slowly when I think about how I would answer that question. Some proclaim that if we would just 'obey' the Law that we would be living 'right'. While I agree there is right and wrong, healthy boundaries we can set up for our lives, I do not believe that those boundaries automatically create the kind of relationship He wants to have with us or that He wants for us to have with one another. I can diet, exercise, wear the best modest clothing, have a professional salon do my hair every day and smile bright like the Orbitz gum girl and I still would not have a relationship with God nor with those around me. Those things are all on the outward trying to work its way in. I don't believe God works that way. So how shall we love Him?
Deut 6:5-8 "5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."
This passage was not meant to be taken literally, as some religious claim, it is spiritual. When you read the entire chapter together in context we see that God wanted our everything, our inner most being, to be completely and totally in league with Him. It's all about our relationship with Him. Going into verse 7 we also see that He desired for us to teach our children about having a deep abiding relationship with Him as well. Not only does he want us, as individuals, to be in a genuine relationship with Him, our children to have individual relationships with Him, but also our entire house. Some believe this means God wanted us to physically write all the commands literally on our door, gate, etc.
Writing something on the wall doesn't mean you have a deep abiding relationship with the Living God. I won't refute someone for doing so, but I believe God wanted us to look deeper into what He was saying here. He wants us, our children, our entire home to be in a deep abiding relationship with Him. Our home life is the place where we let down our guards. The place where we feel the most comfortable. Sometimes people tend to let their guards down too much at home and cause themselves to become weak. He wants us to make sure that our home life exemplifies the very richness of our relationship with Him.
Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Now of course we know we can't literally cut open our chests and write his word on our hearts. He is speaking to us about something very special and deep within ourselves. He wants to be hid in us. That word hide is to treasure up. If you had a treasure you would certainly value it, keep it safe, and not let it go. He wants to be so within our hearts, our inner most being, to be treasured up, that deep abiding that only He can do. Sin is the word that means 'to fall short'. David was singing to our Lord that he does not WANT to sin against God. That I might not sin against THEE.
How can we not sin against God? How can we not fall short? Deep abiding love holds us close to the heart. When we have a deep abiding love for God, we will naturally do those things that please Him. Will we still fall short? Absolutely! That doesn't mean we should use that as an excuse though. When we love someone so richly we will, from love and compassion, avoid things that would cause distress to that relationship. But, in our human state we have gaps and the grace of God through Christ our Lord fills those gaps. Jesus Christ completes us.
Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
I enjoyed looking into the Greek of this verse, it is filled with so many goodies. When I looked up in the Greek about 'word' it was described as 'an embodying idea', not just memorizing literal words, but His word as an embodying idea. To 'embody' is to give a body to spirit! I look at 'dwell in you richly' with such awe. 'Dwell' is to live and 'richly' is an adverb. This is a deeper look at God being so much a part of who we are. Thinking back to the last two verses above, in conjunction with this understanding, He is to be our everything in ways our human minds have difficulty grasping. This 'embodying' of who He is, that life within us is an action. The word 'richly' shows us His interaction within us each and every day.
The verse goes on to say 'in all wisdom', but why? He says, teaching and admonishing (exhorting) one another! Without Him being our everything we cannot effectively be used to do this very important charge given to us by our Father. Even far more interesting here is how he wants us to teach and admonish, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. He is wanting us to be uplifted! But how? Through HIM! Because we have a deep abiding relationship with Him, through Christ Jesus. Now what about those uplifting melodies? He says to do so with grace in your hearts!
Some ask where grace fits in with the Law. How do you live by grace and still obey the Law? Remember what He showed us about how He wants His law is to be within us. Not simply memorized word for word, although memorization is good, but He wants Himself to be our everything. He wants to be embodied within us, to dwell richly!
Psalm 37:31 "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."
He did not say in this verse that we are to live within physical boundaries of the law, although boundaries are good, He is saying He wants in our HEARTS. He wants Himself to be in our inner heart. The law is His instruction, His direction, this reminds me of another verse where Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." He is our way to have that inner heart relationship with God our Father.
Romans 7:22 "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:"
Paul said it beautifully here that he delights in the law of God after the INWARD man. He did not say he delights in people who live by rules and regulations, because it is far too easy to simply live by rules and regulations. The step by step, point by point, Law following life does not mean you have a deep abiding relationship with God in Christ Jesus. Again, I am not saying that we should not have safe boundaries for our lives. I think boundaries are wise, but they are not, in and of themselves, a relationship. He is seeking the inward relationship.
II Corinthians 3:2- 3 " 2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. "
This verse shows us that clearer picture of the importance of God being in the inward heart. When we allow God to be our everything within who we are, he becomes somewhat like DNA, only a spiritual DNA. We are grafted in through Christ our Lord. With this kind of relationship we will see Him manifesting in our lives and be seen as the living epistles as spoken of in this passage. His Law at work in us, the Law has become a part of who we are as prophesied in Jeremiah 3:33, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
When we have this kind of abiding, indwelling, embodying relationship with God our Father, through Christ Jesus, be seen as the living epistles, richly lavished in His love, mercy, and grace, we will be at peace.
Psalm 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."
This does not mean people who love obeying rules and regulations, he is showing us that relationship that can only come by His supernatural power to us through Jesus Christ. Building boundaries with the Law is no more a relationship than a house creates a home. We looked at how the home is to be a place where His love abides. An empty house is just a house, it's when the family moves in and occupies the house with their loving relationships that it becomes a home. Sometimes a door breaks, the paint flakes, and the plumbing needs to be replaced, but the home is not the structure, it's in the lives of the people forming the relationships within the home. That home is mobile. Wherever the family goes, the home goes. You can leave a physical dwelling place behind and move to another location, but the home goes with you. It's what is in the inward part of each individual in the relationships.
Our physical family is just an earthly example of our heavenly family. When the individuals of God's family are one with Him through Christ our Lord, we are a spiritual family with spiritual siblings from all over the world. The physical children we have were born with a physical DNA that matches their parents. The children take on specific attributes of their parents such as hair and eye color, skin tone, body frame, etc. The children of our heavenly Father take on characteristics as well. When He is in us and we in Him, we will been those living epistles that bear fruit of the Spirit. This is how people know who we belong to. Jesus said they will know us by how we love one another. The love of our Father should be seen pouring out of our lives toward others. The fruit we will bear will be thoroughly scrumptious with love. Each bite of fruit should be refreshing, nutritious, tasty, and satisfying. Living life like this can only come from His divine supernatural power becoming every part of who we are. It's in the relationship.
Galatians 5:22-23, "22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. "
We know that a tree cannot send its other tree friends out to the store to buy fruit to place on its branches. Fruit grows from within and the tree grows because of the water that is absorbed through its roots. God said we would be like a tree planted by a river.
Psalm 1:3 "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
This tree planted by the river is us and the river is Living Water. This tree planted by His Living Water will bear HIS fruit in HIS season. When we have this kind of relationship that is abiding, indwelling, and embodying we will bear His fruit as described in Galatians chapter 4. He did not say that our fruit would be works. The fruit is of the Spirit. His fruit is a product of our spiritual DNA, it all comes from within. If you are not bearing fruit that spreads His fragrance, but instead you have reoccurring anxiety, bitterness, envy, etc then perhaps you are drinking at the wrong river. It's then time to change fountains. Jesus told the woman at the well that if she drank of Him she will never thirst again. He is satisfying! Is your life satisfying? Our lives will not find satisfaction in the things of this world nor in obeying the Law. Our satisfaction is from our relationship with God in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:17 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"
John 14:20 "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
John 17:23 "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
1 John 3:24 "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."
Colossians 1:27 "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
Christ in you, the hope of glory!
Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to an evangelist who travels to bring the gospel to those in need of our Savior. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries.