Dwelling in His Word


As we are journeying through Mark, we are being encouraged to read through all four of the gospels.  I came across this article from Dallas Willard that encourages us to do the same and gives a very helpful description of what it means to dwell in the Word.  Enjoy!

Dwell in His Word

And what does “dwelling,” or “continuing,” in his word mean? It means to center your life upon the very things we have been studying in this book: his good news about The Kingdom Among Us, about who is really well off and who is not, and about true goodness of heart and how it expresses itself in action. We will fill our souls with the written Gospels. We will devote our attention to these teachings, in private study and inquiry as well as public instruction. And, negatively, we will refuse to devote our mental space and energy to the fruitless, even stupefying and degrading, stuff that constantly clamors for our attention. We will attend to it only enough to avoid it.

But dwelling in his word is not just intensive and continuous study of the Gospels, though it is that. It is also putting them into practice. To dwell in his word we must know it: know what it is and what it means. But we really dwell in it by putting it into practice. Of course, we shall do so very imperfectly at first. At that point we have perhaps not even come to be a committed disciple. We are only thinking about how to become one. Nevertheless, we can count on Jesus to meet us in our admittedly imperfect efforts to put his word into practice. Where his word is, there he is. He does not leave his words to stand alone in the world. And his loveliness and strength will certainly be personally revealed to those who will simply make the effort to do what his words indicate. . . .

If over a period of several days or weeks we were to read the Gospels through as many times as we can, consistent with sensible rest and relaxation, that alone would enable us to see Jesus with a clarity that can make the full transition into discipleship possible. We can count on him to meet us in that transition and not leave us to struggle with it on our own, for he is far more interested in it than we can ever be. He always sees clearly what is at issue. We rarely do.

There are a few other things we can do that will help us toward discipleship to Jesus—not least, seriously looking at the lives of others who truly have apprenticed themselves to him. Often his radiance in such people gives us very bright and strong impressions of his own greatness. To look closely at a Saint Francis, a John Wesley, a David Brainerd, an Albert Schweitzer, or one of his many well-known Theresas, for example, is to see something that elevates our vision and our hope toward Jesus himself. We should, however, make sure to soak our souls in the Gospels before turning to lives of his other followers.

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved.