If we let the word of God take up residence within us, it will become something. It is alive. In fact, “It is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword,” the writer of Hebrews reminds us. We do not have to try and make it into something, it already is something, and will become something more in us as we give it time and space.
The problem is that while we may indeed read the word of God, we do not typically allow it the time and the space to become—to live and dwell within us. We do not give it room to have a life of its own. Therefore, more often than not, the seed of the word falls on the hardened path of our own busyness and activity and comes to nothing. What a tragedy.
If we truly desire intimacy with God, if we truly want to hear God speak to us, we must learn how to plant his word in our hearts and souls in a way that it comes alive in us, and then works its way out into our lives and our world. We must, as Eugene Peterson so beautifully said, turn our eyes into ears. We must come to God’s word fully realizing its personal and specific nature, fully realizing its potential to speak deeply into our hearts and lives. And we must make time and space for it to do so. It will not happen by accident.
This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, The Message)