Col 3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
The word “let” can be an injunction not to hinder, a command to be obeyed, or an entreaty expressing desire. While an argument could be made for any of these positions, I believe (based on the tone of this letter) that Paul is expressing his desire for the saints at Colosse. As they were obviously under some duress (Col 2:16-23), Paul was concerned that their attention might be taken away from what was really important.
We find ourselves in many stressful situations today. We are bombarded with news of hatred, of political unrest, of persecution, and of all manner of disaster. Jobs, family, and community all vie for our time and attention. As soon as we allow our focus to be drawn to these things all manner of distress and grief overtakes us. I am by no means advocating (nor do I think Paul was advocating) that we turn a blind eye or harden our hearts against these things. Instead, we have instruction here on how to meet these issues: let the peace of God rule in our hearts.
When we allow the clamor of the world to overtake our thinking, peace goes out the window. Without the ruling peace of God, we cannot successfully deal with any of these demands. Our efforts will be guided by what seems right to us, and in that thinking there is only destruction (Pro 14:12, 16:25). Only when the quietness of God prevails in our hearts can we see clearly our responsibility to the issues at hand.
We are united when the quietness of God has dominion: in this we are called in one body. Instead of distress, we find the joy of thanksgiving. When our hearts are thankful due to the peace of God that rules there, then we can face the challenges before us with confidence, knowing that the Lord goes before us. We are both comforted and fortified by the abundance of His inhabiting word.
Because the Divine Expression (see Strong’s definition of “word”) dwells in us abundantly, we have access to wisdom that exceeds the wisdom of the world. Our confidence in Him abounds to all wisdom. Even when we may not have a clue what our response should be, He knows! When we are blessed to be still, then in Him we can both instruct (teach) and gently warn (admonish) each other.
When the quietness of God has dominion in our hearts and the Divine Expression abundantly inhabits our lives, the outcome is singing with grace on our hearts to the Lord. Only when He is our focus do we truly teach and admonish one another. What comfort we find in the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs when they are sung to the Lord. I never read this passage of scripture without thinking of a precious old Elder from the days of my youth. He always entered the pulpit singing a song, and most of the time it was the old hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.” When he finished singing, he would smile sweetly at the congregation and remark, “Brothers and sisters, I would rather hear good singing than sorry preaching any time.”
Everything we do and say should be according to the authority of the Divine Expression living in us. Doing in the name of Jesus is more than just invoking His name along with our speech or action. If I claim the name of Jesus in something, it means that, through the Spirit, He has actually bidden me in my heart. Anything we do in the name of Jesus should be done with thanksgiving to God the Father, and we give Him thanks through the Son.
May our focus always be on God so that our actions will be right and the result will be singing and thanksgiving unto the Lord!