God instructs us many times in the Bible to “meditate” on Him and His Word.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
So how do we meditate? The world uses the term meaning to empty our minds and enter new spiritual states. But, meditation in the Bible is focusing purposefully on the Almighty God and His truths. Sure, we want to empty our minds of distraction, and busy-ness. But, the goal is the filling of our minds and hearts WITH GOD. It’s pondering. It’s asking God for wisdom. It’s admitting we don’t know it all but we love the one that does. And meditation can be peaceful, but isn’t always. God’s holy Word is coming in contact with my selfish heart so at times it can be a pretty jarring experience.
1. Meditating is asking the Holy Spirit to further enlighten us about the Word of God and His plan for us.
The Holy Spirit draws us to become Christians, and the same Holy Spirit enables us to understand God’s Word. Why does one person read the Bible and feel it’s the most boring textbook ever while another can’t put it down? The Holy Spirit.
2. Meditating depends more on heart attitude than time.
We hear about spiritual gurus that spend the entire day or week or year meditating. Is that what God requires? Not many of us have any way of doing that!! Whatever time we give to thinking about and praying about God’s Word, I really believe God will honor. But, what is our heart like, that’s the real question? Are we wanting to hear what God has to say? What if it’s difficult? What if it involves us putting our hopes beneath His? What if He prompts us to say no to something we want?
God is absolutely there and full of mercy. He wants us to be honest and real. I can be upset, angry, torn, fearful, or any other emotion, and it all is ok with Him. I can yell. I can cry. God bids us to come as we are and He is completely able to hear us despite our intense emotions.
What I’ve found is never ok with God is
my refusal to face my pride and bitterness.
We can’t fool God. If you’re at a stand-still, and aren’t sure why, that’s a great place to start. Pride comes in so many forms. We need to seek Him with humility and a willingness to obey when He answers.
3. Meditation allows God’s Word to sink down into our hearts and minds. Many Biblical concepts seem simple at first. Common sense, we think. But, God brings our past, future, fears, hopes, emotions into the picture.
But what do I meditate on, you may ask. A good place to start is with what naturally grabs your attention in any way as you read the Bible. Something that seems so very easy, or upsetting, or basically just wrong to you. What ruffles your feathers? What verses do you just love to read? Meditating is done with our minds, but involves our emotions and beliefs.
Here is an example….
II Cor. 5:15 And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
When I first read this verse I can tell you what popped into my mind was, Wow, that’s harsh. I don’t like hearing that and it feels offensive. It’s my life, why can’t I live it for myself? I can move on or I can continue to meditate on God’s Word.
I realize that I assume I control my life, not God. Sure, I care what God thinks but when my thoughts don’t line up with His, it’s mine I go with. I see that my motives are pretty selfish. God is love and I’m supposed to be wanting to think and act like Him. Am I? God’s truth seeps a bit deeper. I continue to read the verse, pray for God’s wisdom. Read surrounding verses. Look up commentaries other people have made to help them understand it better. I meditate.
Why don’t I want God in control? I’m afraid He will have me do things I don’t want to do. Maybe He’ll take away what I love or make me do something weird or embarrassing. It’s safer for me to be in control. God’s truth seeps a bit deeper. I continue to meditate.
God is good. It is impossible for Him to be anything else. It’s His character. And He is love. He isn’t just loving…He is love. He loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us. He cares deeply for us. He is a good Father that desires to bless His children. Of course, God also disciplines those He loves. He knows what’s best for me and every person. So He knows what things I love that maybe aren’t best for me. So now I’m back to feeling worried again. There’s risk here for sure. More meditating.
God loves me and knows me completely, He knows in the end what is best for me. He knows what will be hard or easy or devastating. I can trust Him.
One thing that makes a lot of difference to me is that I can tell God what I’m thinking and feeling, because He already knows. He can take me voicing my fears about Him, myself, about anything. Ask Him to change your heart and mind and love what He loves. Admit that this area is a horrible struggle but you want to be obedient.
God wants us to have wisdom and He wants us to correctly interpret his words and live by them. He wants us to make good decisions and to forsake ways that are harmful to follow him wholly. But we usually have a long way to go. We aren’t going to get somewhere without taking that first step. A journey starts with one step and so does learning to meditate and hear God. What’s step one…it’s reading God’s Word and asking Him to help me understand it.