A Simple yet Powerful Way to Let God's Word Dwell in You

January 14, 2016

If you missed it, this past Sunday, as part of our New You series, I talked about having rhythms in life that help us be in sync with the beat of God's heart. When I talked about Daily Rhythms, two rhythms I emphasized were Bible and Prayer.

When I was talking about Bible intake, I encouraged you to not only have a Bible reading plan for the next month or year, but to have a plan for what you will do while reading your Bible. And to help you out, I taught the SOAP method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) of reading the Bible in order to be shaped into the New You.

But today, I want to give you another "Bible study tool" to put in your spiritual tool belt. This tool actually combines the Bible and Prayer. It's called Lectio Divina.

Divine Reading

Colossians 3:16 says:

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Lectio Divina (which is Latin for "Divine Reading") is a phenomenal way to let the "Word of Christ" (the Bible) dwell in you richly, shaping you into the New You in Jesus, because it allows the Bible to guide your prayers.
To help you understand how it works, let's walk through the verse above - Colossians 3:16.

1. Readiness

Prepare your heart by simply asking God to speak to you through His Word and to guide your prayers by what He has already written from His heart to humanity. If you need to confess anything, do so at this time.

So go ahead and take a moment to pray before moving on to step #2.

2. Reading

Many people who enjoy connecting with God through Lectio Divina suggest reading through the day's section 4 times, praying as you go. The idea is for God to thoroughly speak to you through His Word, so don't rush anything. Go slow deliberately, seeking to soak in God's truth.

So go ahead and read through the verse above two, three, or even four times, reading it slowly, knowing God has something in it for you.

3. Reflecting

As you read the Scripture (in step 2), you should be praying. But as you finish reading through the verse or section, you should begin to shift to more active prayer, allowing the words that you read to become part of your prayer.

So let me do that here with Colossians 3:16:

"Father, please let the Word of Christ, the gospel, dwell in me richly. Let me know it, understand it, and live it, as naturally as breathing. And as you embed the Word of Christ in me, allow it to overflow to others. Use me to teach others your wisdom. Use me to counsel others in your wisdom. Use me to encourage people to live in accordance with your wisdom. And give me the boldness to lovingly confront those who claim to follow you, but are living outside of your wisdom.

"And Father, help my life to spill out into song because the Word of Christ dwells in me. Put a song in my heart and on my lips. Help me be quick to praise you with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, even when things are tough. And fill my heart with thankfulness through the Word of Christ. Help me to be thankful for ALL things you put in my life, both the great and the tough."

4. Receiving

Now, notice I didn't say "Amen" at the end of that prayer and finish it. As you talk to God, be open to hearing from Him. If you follow Jesus, He has put His Holy Spirit in your life. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:26 that He was giving them the Holy Spirit to remind them of what He said (the Word of Christ) and to teach them. That same Holy Spirit is then given to everyone who puts their faith in Jesus.

So not only let God's words through Scripture guide your prayers, but also spend some time ready to receive from God. You've already received from Him through His Scripture, but perhaps He has more for you. So listen. You most likely won't hear an audible voice. But perhaps you will have a sense of what God is calling you to do.

5. Responding

And when you have a sense of what God is saying to you and what He wants you to do, then respond! Respond in praise. Respond in thanksgiving. And respond with obedience.

Whether you use SOAP, Lectio Divina, or something else, the point is to get into God's Word to be shaped by Him into the image of Jesus. So may you get into a rhythm of Scripture intake, letting God continue to exert His rule and reign in your life, molding you into the New You.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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