It takes approximately 68 milliseconds for your brain to react to a stimulus. That is fast—very fast. In that fraction of a second you become aware of something happening and respond. So, not only do you receive information quickly, but you also decide how to respond quickly.
Have you ever wondered why you respond the way you do? The way we respond— our actions or behavior—reflects our hearts. Think back over the last 24 hours. If you are like most people, you probably don’t like how you responded to every situation you faced. As we mature and grow in godly wisdom, how we respond changes because our hearts are being transformed.
Now think about the students in your group. The same thing is true for them. Sometimes we wonder why they do or say what they do, but in many cases we are just seeing a reflection of their hearts. That is why verses like Colossians 3:16 are so vital to the spiritual growth and health of all believers. It begins. . .
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Why “dwell”? I like things that move quickly and “dwell” doesn’t carry the idea of urgency. “Dwell” carries a slower, in-depth, and long-term meaning. Which is why I think God chose to use that word in Colossians.
The eternal destination of a follower of Christ is changed immediately as they accept the salvation that only Christ can offer. But their lives—their actions and behaviors—take a bit more time. This transformation happens as the Word “dwells” in us. The Word dwelling in us seems to be the starting point for all that follows. The rest of the verse goes on to say. . .
“teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
We know God by knowing His Word. The process of becoming like Christ begins as the Word dwells in us. What can we be doing in our everyday lives to increase the dwelling of His Word in our hearts? How can we help students in this process as well?
- Personal study of God’s Word
- Memorizing Scripture
- Applying God’s Word to our lives
- Discussing God’s Word with other believers
- Spending time meditating on the truths of God
- Personal prayer and fellowship with God
As we incorporate these disciplines into our lives, who we are and what we do will begin to change. In time, as God’s Word takes residence in our hearts, what comes out in those 68 milliseconds should look very different than it used to.