When we truly delight in something we meditate on it day and night. Just recall something or someone in your life that has grabbed your attention and held onto it. It might be a girlfriend or boyfriend, perhaps something you have learned in class, something you saw in a movie or saw on the television, the point is we all hold onto thoughts and meditate on them daily. Now most of these instances don’t last forever and have no real weight in our lives. But what if we could meditate on something that does have weight in our lives, that will last us the rest of our time here on earth and have significance for eterenity?
In order to truly understand meditation and what it can do for our lives we must clear up what we mean just a bit. Popular culture tells us that meditation is the process and act of clearing your mind for thoughts, divine intervention, peace, tranquility etc. We have all seen the Hollywood version of mediation, sit next to a peaceful lake with giant flowers cross your legs and put your hands out to the side. Close your eyes and clear your mind. However, the biblical view of meditation is to not clear our minds, but to fill them up with thoughts of God. We see this in Psalm one;
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
(Psalm 1, ESV)
The author of this Psalm is driving home the purpose and fruit of meditation. Verses one and two show us the contrast between someone who meditates on the law and is filled up with God’s promises, and someone who follows the thoughts and life of the wicked.
Meditating on God’s word requires practice, its a discipline that should be cared to just like any other discipline in our lives. A basketball player doesn’t make all his free throw shots without practice, nor does a pianist play a finely tuned piece of music without rehearsing and practice. Likewise a Christian does not increase in their knowledge and delight in God’s word unless they practice the discipline of meditation. The Psalmist lays out the benefits to such practice in verse 3, pointing to the fact that if we root our lives in God’s word we will be like a tree that produces consistent fruit. The fruit is a mind filled with God’s words, the very substance for our life. John 1 says;
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1: 1 ESV)
If our minds and hearts are filled with God’s word, we are being filled with the very breath of life. We will walk daily with the support and foundation of the very Word that God holds life together with. Meditation is a tool for Christians to pursue a life and mind that is filled with God. We must remember this is not easy, it’s called a discipline for a reason.
Our reward to this hard work? “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (v.6). Could it be more black and white? Meditating on scripture is a healthy practice to help us draw closer to God and become more like Christ. Isn’t that the goal? The tree of your spiritual life thrives best with meditation because it helps you absorb the water of God’s word. So will you continue to dwell on the fleeting things of this world? Or will you begin to draw nearer to God by mediating on his Word?
One practical way to do this is by verse memorization. Trust me its easy, we memorize things all the time. The Crossing has a great plan, you can buy memory-verse notecards to keep with you all the time for $1 at the bookstore or you can download The Crossing app in iTunes or the Android market, or you can follow along on their website by clicking here. If it’s not this, then find something structured and planned out.