Colossians 3:15-16 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
Faith and peace are relationship things. They have to do with how we relate to God. Relationships are like living organisms. When they are healthy, they are growing, and they need to be fed and nourished to keep them healthy and alive.
Faith and peace feed on the “word of Christ.” That’s why Paul tells us to let that word “dwell in you.” This isn’t merely tolerating an occasional visit from God’s word to our hearts. A sad cartoon I saw years ago was commenting on the attitude people sometimes take toward worship. A man is greeting the pastor after church, and he says, “That was nice. We should do it again sometime”–as if this were a little diversion to take in every now and then, like going to the movies.
God doesn’t want your heart to be a little pup tent for his word, a temporary shelter you take down as quickly as you set it up, then put it away for months between trips. He doesn’t want your heart to be the Holiday Inn for his word, giving his word a place to make a brief stop as it is passing through town. He wants his word to dwell in you richly. He wants your heart to be a fully furnished home for his word, a permanent address at which his word can live for the rest of your days.
This means more than Sunday worship, not less. This happens when we are teaching one another: not just the pastor teaching you in Bible class or a sermon, but you parents teaching your children by applying God’s word to their lives and gathering your family together for devotions in your homes. It happens when friends are talking about life together, and you apply God’s words to the situations your friend is wrestling with. This happens when we are admonishing or correcting one another. True friends don’t let bad behavior pass. They are gentle and loving, but they confront it. Like Solomon once said in the Proverbs, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Yes, it may hurt a little, but these are wounds from a friend, wounds like the doctor makes when he has to cut or stitch to make you better.
And God’s word dwells in us richly when Christian hymns and Christian music stir our faith. They stick in our hearts and heads throughout the week, taking God’s grace and love with us wherever we go. Then our faith is fed. Then the peace of Christ doesn’t make an occasional suggestion in our hearts. It doesn’t give a little input to our hearts. It rules, rules in our hearts because through the power of God’s word it’s presence is strong and healthy all the time.