Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meditation


Meditation

 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” – Psalms 1:1-3

There are many ways in which you can study your Bible.  Some prefer to read one book at a time, some prefer to research a topic and go through all verses that discuss that topic.  Some choose to study using a Christian book or devotional, while others prefer a commentary written by a master theologian.  Some use the ‘5W’ method, asking Who, What, When, Where, and Why about each scripture.  All these ways will cause you to gain knowledge of God’s word, but there is one method of study that is not only fruitful in attaining knowledge, but in changing the heart and mind.  That method is meditation.
Ok, now don’t shut me down here!  I’m not talking about yoga meditation, transcendental meditation, or some eastern religion or occult worship.  The point of Biblical meditation is not to get in touch with yourself, but to get out of touch with yourself and your life for a while, and in touch with God.  Meditation is in the Bible and we’re encouraged to use it.  Meditation is giving your mind over to something, in this case, God’s word.  God wants your fellowship, quality time with you.  How can you give Him quality time without meditating, truly thinking about what He has to say? 

Psalms 1:1-3 says that if we meditate on His word we are blessed, and that in whatever we do, we will prosper.  Proverbs 4:20-22 tells us that it will bring health even to our flesh, as it says, My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” To “give attention to my words” is to meditate, to focus on them.  It’s a well-known medical fact that thinking positive thoughts reduces stress.  Any doctor will tell you that stress is a great factor in many health problems.  Yes, God’s word is healing, when you allow your heart and mind to feed on it.
We are told to in Romans 12:2 to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, but reading a verse of God’s word with the speed and attention we read a road sign is not going to cut it.  We can try to transform our minds by removing all our evil thoughts and thinking only on the things that are good.  But that can be pretty hard to do if you expect the world to give you those things to think on.  When did you last hear anything pure, good, true, and lovely on TV or radio or even friends?  You may end up with nothing to think about at all!   I have to laugh at this thought, remembering Job 11:12, which says For an empty-headed man will be wise, when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man”.  It’s just not going to happen!  You have to put good stuff in to get good stuff out!    

Philippians 4:8 tells us “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”  What do you think Paul was describing when he said to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy?  Does anything fit the bill other than the Word of God? 
In 1 Timothy 4:13 Paul revisits this subject and tells young Timothy Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” He tells Timothy to give his attention over to reading God’s word, to exhortation (speaking it, giving encouragement and advice), to doctrine.  He tells him to give himself ENTIRELY to them, and his progress will be seen.

Meditation is more than just reading God’s word.  It’s reading it to find a deeper revelation. To meditate you have to give over your mind, emotions, and body to the thought.  For me, I like to study early in the morning.  Most days that’s at 4:30a.m.  At that hour the house is quiet, my daughter is still sleeping, and my sweet husband is upstairs having his own time with God.  The day hasn’t opened its cans of worms yet, and my mind is clear. For you, it may be the end of the day, before bedtime, that’s quietest for you, or even midday.  Finding that quiet time to give over your thoughts, uninterrupted by intruding thoughts and other people, is important.  And meditation does take time.  Don’t set aside a half hour or hour to do it.  Give God unlimited time.  He’ll let you know when He’s done.  And please don’t tell Him, the one who gives you every minute of the day, that you don’t have time for Him.  Find the time.
When you have found that quiet time to offer Him, read a passage from His word.  Then read it again, slowly.  Feel the emotions of the writer.  Ask yourself how this passage fits with the rest of the Bible and what God has spoken through His Holy Spirit to your heart lately.  His word is living, and will relate to you personally.  Are the words used by the author strong words, or are they soft?  Is he using a lot of verbs, or more adjectives to describe the subject?  Is he expressing a command, a blessing, a way in which we are to react to life, an event, or what?  Does the verse remind you of another verse? Go there, and read that verse too.  Dissect it. Digest it.  Move from having His Word in your head to having it in your heart, to feeling it.   

Meditation allows God’s word to affect your heart. This is what the Psalmist in Psalms 119:9-11 meant as he prays to God and says that he will take heed according to God’s word, and has sought him with his whole heart.  He says “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”  Your heart controls your actions – not your mind.  Changing, transforming your mind, has to first start with a heart change.
Meditation comes with great rewards.  God will reveal the deep truths of His word, and who He is, His very character and divine nature, as you allow Him quality time with your mind and your heart.  This is intimacy with God, getting closer to God.  This is His Holy Spirit instructing and teaching your spirit – Spirit to spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:10-12 says, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

If we study the Bible, but don’t give His Spirit opportunity to instruct our spirit, we are the man that looks into the mirror, sees his face, but then walks away and forgets who he really is.  God’s instruction through meditation will change how you see yourself, and how you love Him.  It will change your heart, and then transform your mind. 

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