Important or not?

Part 7

Last week I shared that there is only one passage in the New Testament (NT) with the world “dwell” in which the meaning is – focus of our attention.  The word “dwell” and it’s variations all the rest of the time are used for a location, where someone lives for example.

Philippians 4:8-9 is the only NT passage teaching us about the focus of our attention by using the word “dwell”.   (There are others words use to describe this process, synonyms, and I will write about those soon.)  So, what is the significance that there are not more passages?

The first possibility to explore is, from the last post: 1. What we focus our attention on is not that important.  I believe we immediately agree this is not a true statement, no matter what the context.

Where, on what, or on whom we focus our attention is very important.  If we are driving and distracted by: ____( fill in the blank) ____, it is dangerous.  When aiming anything, the target better be our focus.  Anytime someone is talking to us, we ideally give our attention to that person.

So why doesn’t the Bible teach more about the focus of our attention = how we “dwell”?  There are lots of options and we will explore them, but for now I think there is one practical answer – we know.  We know when we are distracted and not focused.  Therefore this whole topic should be unnecessary to explore?

Knowing and doing are too often different things!  You may have noticed this is a frequent theme of the Bible.  James 4:17 comes to mind.  “So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.”  HCSB

I believe the reason I am so motivated to write about this subject is because of seeing in my life and others how we too often fail to see how our spiritual life affects us on a regular basis.  How well are you “dwelling” on the Lord?  Is He the daily, even more often, focus of your attention?

When we focus our attention well, spiritually and practically, everything is better!

The core passage on dwelling.

Last post I shared the core Bible passage regarding dwelling – Philippians 4:8-9.  The word dwell is used 150 times in the Bible, but most usages are to where someone lives.  Our dwelling place is not the point of this study and exploration.  (But it is interesting that the word dwelling is used for where we live.  I think this will be a necessary future blog.)

All but 22 of the usages of the word dwell or its variations are in the Old Testament (OT), we will sort out the significance of those 128 passage in the OT for future posts.

Of all 22 New Testament (NT) usages of the word dwell, only one passage uses the meaning of the word I want to explore.  Yes, all the rest of the verses are about some kind of a location and living there.

So only Philippians 4:8-9 has the word dwell used with the meaning we are looking to study.  This is interesting.  I think we only have a few main reasons why we don’t see dwelling in more passage.  1. What we focus our attention on is not that important. Or 2. The topic is so clear no more passages are needed.  Or 3. There are other words used to describe the same idea, i.e. synonyms for the word dwell.

In the next three posts I will expand on each of these three possibilities, but let’s seek a general conclusion.

I really don’t believe this topic is unimportant.  If I did I wouldn’t write these posts.  It is clear in my own life and as I serve with others that the focus of our attention is a core aspect of our lives.  So #1 is out of the question.

In many ways I do believe the Bible is clear about on what, on whom, and how we are to dwell as the focus of our attention.  Yet I don’t believe we live out this principle well.  So there are lots of reasons to explore not only what is clear in the Bible about dwelling, but also how to dwell well.

The third option opens up a lot of study, one I am looking forward to tackling.  For now, we will just leave this to future posts.

I encourage you to read Philippians 4:8-9.  I am going to read it and start memorizing it, not a bad I deal for all of us.

Let’s dwell well!