Sunday, February 7, 2010

Consumed With It

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

Anyone who has had a problem with some type of addiction will tell you that it is possible to consume a substance, physically, or an idea, mentally, until the substance or idea finally consumes you. This can be tragic and, in some cases, irreparable with something bad. But in the case of the Word of God—something immeasurably good—unbridled consumption can only bring greater wisdom and fuller life. In the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the many definitions for the word “rich” is this: “Of a full, ample, or unstinted nature; highly developed or cultivated.” That's what Paul is talking about here. Being consumed, cultivated and developed in the Word of God to the point of near saturation. Not just with the words, but the Word itself. There is a difference.

It’s the difference between saying words and absorbing ideas, like the difference between learning the multiplication tables and being able to solve math problems. I have known people who could quote Bible verses one after another but were oblivious when it came to discerning Bible principles, especially in their own lives.

Memorization is fine, but internalization is better.

Bible verses should not come “off the top of our heads,” so to speak; they should come from the recesses of our hearts. This takes concentration—or, rather, meditation, to use the Bible term. The former is keeping our minds fixed in one place. The other is serious and sustained reflection. Meditation on a passage in the Bible will, almost without exception, lead to some kind of personal application. And that’s what we’re after here. Not just a road map to Heaven and a repository of truth, but a guidebook for life.

The handiwork of God can be seen in His creation, but His thoughts can only be found in His Word. We can never hope to think the way He does about things until we read His thoughts. And the more we read—and meditate, the more we will become consumed by them.

To use an old, Kentucky expression, read the Bible till you're just "eat up with it!"

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