When is the last time you could not sleep because you were so excited? What were you thinking about?
When is the last time you could not sleep because you were so worried? What were you thinking about?
When is the last time you could not sleep because someone had upset you? Who or what were you thinking about?
Congratulations! You are an expert on meditation!
People throughout the ages have known that the way we think and that what we think about matters. In the first century, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “We become what we think about.”
Because we cannot not think, our minds will go somewhere. And because our world is full of distractions and noise, without intentional effort, our attention is not likely to turn to God. As much as I hate to admit it, the weekly screen time report on my iPhone tells me that I spend a lot of time listening to the noise!
Meditating on God’s word is an antidote to the distractions of this world
And it’s part of the recipe for the soul-satisfying life he longs to give us.
God tells us that those who meditate on His word are like trees planted by the water that yield their fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. (Psalm 1:1-3)
God tells us that he’ll give us direction through his word. Reflecting on his words and letting them speak to us is how we know the way.
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
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:38). How do we love him with our mind? We contemplate his word and let it train our thinking.
Meditating on the things of this world bears fruit, too, but it can be poisonous fruit. If my heart isn’t buffered by thinking on God’s word; if I don’t know him well or know his great love or plan for me, letting things like social media, political news and current affairs permeate my thoughts, the outcome in my heart can be envy, insecurity, ingratitude, bitterness and worse.
If prayer is talking to God, then meditation in the biblical sense is listening to God
God has spoken to us through his word. Listening is hearing his words and carefully considering what they mean for our lives.
The people of Jeremiah’s day ended up in a world of hurt because they did not listen. God sent Jeremiah to warn them to turn their hearts back to God and avoid pain, but they would not listen. They fell in love with their world, the idols and gods of the surrounding culture.
Let’s not be like them, where God says, I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear and I called you but you did not answer. (Jeremiah 7:13)
Like any of the spiritual disciplines, or tools for nurturing our relationship with God, it can be challenging to implement, especially if our house and our days are full.
Here are some steps you can take today:
- Write out a verse on an index card and put it on the bathroom mirror and think about the words as you brush your teeth. This week I am putting up Isaiah 26:2, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.”
- Find worship songs (Google search will do that for you) that have lyrics based on scripture.
- Find a Bible study that gets you into God’s word.
Our prayer for you is that God’s word permeates your thinking, and that the fruit of peace, and a mind set on him because you trust him is the result.
We are rooting for you!
If you think God isn’t speaking, chances are you haven’t been taking time to listen well.
– Melissa Spoelstra