Along with helping new followers of Christ read the Bible, we need to help them learn to meditate on it. Of course, for many CHristians, this means we ourselves have to learn to mediate on it.
There are many times when Robin, my wife, will tell me things that take time to process. I need to chew on the words and digest them. And because we are both committed to a healthy relationship, so I am committed to reflect on her words.
And so it is with our relationship with God. There are times he will talk to us in Scripture, and hearing the words will not be enough. You will need to meditate on them.
Christian meditation is not like the meditation of eastern religions. Their meditation is the emptying and opening of the mind. This is an extremely dangerous practice and must be avoided by followers of Jesus. In fact, a student of mine used to be a Satanist. When the police couldn’t find a lost child, he was the one they would come to, and with the help of his master he would conjure up the child’s location. He told me that the most fruitful place to find new converts to Satanism was in the youth programs in churches, where the teen-agers were being taught to open their minds in meditation. Nothing like a home swept and put in order to attract the enemy.
Christian meditation is the opposite. It is filling your mind with the words of God, and in silence letting them bounce around in your head, looking at them from different directions, and asking God’s Spirit to make them understandable. It goes something like this.
“I read the other day that if I am to follow Jesus, I must ‘deny’ myself. What does that mean?
The pastor said that it means ‘to humbly submit my will to God,’ to pray ‘not my will but your be done.’ Is he right? I think so. What, then, does that mean for me? Are there any areas in my life in which this is not happening?
O God, show me the hidden places of my heart. Show me where this is not happening and I am unaware of it.
Oh, that’s right. I still respond in anger when someone hurts me, especially when they gossip about me. But it makes me mad, God. It’s not fair. Don’t I have the right to retaliate?
Oh, that’s right, the only right I have is the right to bless, the right to forgive, the right to extend grace and mercy. I can’t do this, God. It’s too hard. Remember my frame, O God, that I am dust (Psalm 103:14).
Heavenly Father, it is too much for me to just forgive. I can’t do it with an honest heart. Will you today give me a desire to forgive?”
So many of us are in such a rush. We live as if there are 25 hours in a day, and that extra hour is just what we need. But the relational devastation is immense. Marriages destroyed. Families split. Lack of true intimacy. We are too busy to pick up a phone, so we text while we drive. The very thing that will destroy a human relationship will also destroy our relationship with God — lack of time. So we spend time with God because we are committed to the relationship, meditating on his word, in silence listening. And we are blessed when we do, as the Psalmist says.
“ Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD , and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. ” (Psalm 1:1-3).