August 13 I Friday
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”
—Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
With our roots firmly planted in Christ, how do we draw life and sustenance? The opening verse of the devotion, from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, tells us that we draw sustenance by letting the Word of Christ, which is the Word of God, dwell in us richly. Not because the Word of God is an end in itself, but because it reveals Christ to us. We cannot give it just two minutes here and another two minutes there, hoping by osmosis that we would know who He is, how He thinks, what His mind is and what His will is. We can only get that through spending time in the Word of God and allowing it to feed our soul. We will find God’s Word is alive, living and powerful.
Yet, Paul’s verse does not end with just letting the word of Christ dwell richly in us, he continues by explaining, “as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16). When we spend time in the Word of God, Paul says we express it through music and worship of Christ as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
How shall we understand these three categories? Psalms are the singing of Scripture itself, not necessarily from the book of Psalms, even though that was the hymnbook of the Jewish temple. Singing psalms is when we take truths of Scripture, put them into music and sing them. Hymns are doctrine put to music, such as doctrinal truths about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the Cross, the Resurrection and the Second coming. Spiritual songs are the expressions of the heart, our desire, longing, love, joy and praise to God.
These psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are three kinds of singing. Paul tells us, “I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:15). There are some great songs that do not say a lot, but drive the Spirit. There are other great hymns that teach us doctrinal things and we remember them in their poetic form. All these functions of music are why we need singing to be a vital part of our worship, and why it should not be overlooked. When we gather together collectively to worship God in song, we are teaching and admonishing one another as we proclaim His truth, affirm His doctrines and express our affections to Him. As we put our roots down in the Word of Christ, we are putting our roots down in the worship of Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, may Your Word dwell richly in my soul, where the outpouring of Your work in my life is expressed through singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Praise You!