Psalm 104:33-34 “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord.”
Frederick Faber, the 19th century English hymn writer and theologian once wrote:
“Only to sit and think of God, Oh what a joy it is! To think the thought, to breathe the Name, Earth has no higher bliss.”
How does someone move from striving to be at peace to actually practicing the impartation of God’s peace within?
The way you practice…
I once heard an ex-NBA player comment on practicing the game of basketball, he said “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practicing perfectly makes perfect.”
I thought about this statement and recognized what he was saying, if you practice poorly, you will have poor results, if you practice rightly, your results will be what you had hoped. Your thoughts and reactions to given situations will not come naturally, our natural tendency is toward sin and rebellion. We have to consistently place ourselves in a position of meditating upon the precepts we want to exude in our lives and yet the way we do this can be the determinant in how effective it can be.
In short….you don’t learn how to mediate by studying about it, you learn it by practicing it.
Luke 1:78-79 “Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Practice makes Perfect
- Timing. It is very difficult to find time to meditate during the middle of the day, unless you have a lunch period that extends long enough or nap time for kids that gives you that break in the day, finding a period for uninterrupted time with the Lord can be difficult but not impossible. Planning for these moments gives you the best opportunity, (barring unforeseen interruptions), and sets your mind to prepare for the opportunity at hand. The better you get at planning, the easier it is to find those moments where you can detach from this world and attach to the Spirit of God in your life.
- Position. If your walking and constantly having to dodge people, cross traffic, be inundated with noise, or fend off others inquiries, your attempts at meditating will be fraught with tension. Finding a quiet place to walk allows your focus to stay upon the subject at hand. A comfortable chair, or a soft grassy area near a gently flowing stream can enhance the opportunity to listen to all the Lord wants to work in you. Expression of our deepest thoughts and concerns can be a way to release the tensions of this world and as we express the Lord will reveal a solution.
- Subject. “The meditation of scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage. The written Word becomes the living Word to you.” -Foster. Spending time in scripture is not determined by the quantity of scripture you read but the depth of understanding you draw from it. Meditating on scripture isn’t necessarily a time for analyzing the words but more of understanding how the message resonates with where you are. I’m convinced that any portion of God’s truth can relate His purpose and His will when we listen. Scripture has a recurring message that simply builds on Truth, this pattern of revelation is like a surge of energy stripping away the false front of worldly philosophy.
- Consistency. Tension builds over time. Go on a relaxing vacation after being in a stress induced pattern and you’ll find sleep patterns start to change, mental acuity improves, eating habits, and personal relationships all improve over time. We should take this habit of staying centered in what is important in our normal everyday lives so that when time away does occur, it isn’t such a dramatic shift but an enhancement of what you are already doing. If an interruption occurs that changes your schedule, find a time later to refocus on what is important, how you want to respond, and what direction you are going in life.
Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah”
A. Entering into God’s story. When dwelling on the truth’s in God’s Word, it’s important to think of yourself not as a casual observer but as an active participant in God’s plan. Even if we didn’t follow Jesus as His disciples did, we follow Him today by the leading of His Spirit in us. When we read stories of the prodigal son or of Ruth or Esther, place yourself in their position and recognize the circumstance you might endure is not a lot different than theirs. The details will vary but the principles remain the same. God’s principles are timeless and endure generationally, as we recognize that mankind’s position hasn’t really changed since the fall, we will see the Bible as far more relevant than ever before.
B. Fragmentation turned into wholeness. There are so many little moments that capture our attention and then pass on. Giving ourselves time to recenter these moments into a complete narrative helps us recognize patterns of God’s intervention we may have been missing. How many times I can recall when I’ve endured so much trouble only to look back and remember all the times the Lord was warning me, trying to redirect me, or teach me that I didn’t pick up on. If I had given myself time to listen and recollect all He was showing me, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache. Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.”
C. Consideration of God’s glory. Meditating on the magnitude of God’s revealed glory may seem simplistic in nature but can be profound in experience. From the glory of the heavens to the majesty of God’s hand in the small and complex creatures we see, the more we allow our minds to be filled with such considerations, the more we recognize the scale of our problems before God….they are simply not that complex. Our problems seem big to us because we are in the midst of them but step back and try and look at them from God’s perspective and you see them in a different light. The level of importance for that promotion, where we might live, what career path I might take, who I might marry, these all grow less overwhelming the more we look into the magnitude of God’s radiant glory. There is simply far more important matters to consider and with this eternal perspective comes a temporal relief from the stress they might induce. Romans 1:19 “For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”
D. Aligning the modern with His majesty. We are inundated with so many issues today, news sources continually release information that must be deciphered as to whether it is tainted with falsities or whether it is true. Correlating modern information with God’s purposes can be a useful method of meditation. When we look at the world in light of God’s greater purpose, the world begins to show itself for what it is and not for what it wants to be. The enemy has tried really hard to make mankind think he is his own god. The world has bought into this lie and tries desperately to get others to think likewise. If we will step back and see the world as God sees it, it changes our mission, we go from being victims of our culture to ambassadors into a culture in need of God’s love and truth. The political environment isn’t a stress, it just reveals the darkness by which the world lives. Pandemics become models of change by which God is preparing the world for the revelation of His Son and the process He is using to shake out the false christians who have tried to circumvent God’s law and grace.
As it has been said many times before, meditation is a lifestyle not a single event. Allow yourself to see the world as God sees it, from a heavenly perspective and the Truth of God’s Word will become more alive in you than ever before.