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 who desires peace move into the realm of experiencing peace within?
Can a person just learn how to be peaceful, can they practice peace like learning a hobby, or is peace something to be found…like a great treasure?
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 considered what he was saying—if he practices poorly, he will expect poor results, if he practices rightly, his results will be what he had hoped for.
If godly thoughts and reactions to any given situation don’t come naturally, why should we expect a result we didn’t put any effort into? Peoples natural tendency is toward sin and rebellion, why should someone expect to be found righteous if they haven’t strived for righteousness? If a person doesn’t consistently place themselves in a position of meditating upon the precepts they desire to know, how can they expect to learn a pathway that isn’t natural to them?
In short….people won’t learn how to experience peace by studying about it, they can only learn it by first knowing where to find it.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The peace the world is looking for is not found in careers, in money, or even in family. All of these endeavors might bring a measure of satisfaction, they may even bring a measure of happiness, but they do not last. The peace of God is found in Christ alone. Unless a person knows where to find peace, they will search the world in vain…it’s not there.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The world struggles because of sin. Sin corrupts, it creates fear, it causes division, and it separates intimate friends. The tribulations of the world are the experiences of life without a clear focus. When all of the world’s endeavors prove empty, or when the gluttonous experiences to please the body are over, what is left is hopelessness.
For someone to know peace they must first place their trust in Christ.
Once the sinner has been redeemed from sin and death, the path of peace is now before them. The immediate effects of knowing God is realized, but the work of following after the Lord requires careful examination and a heart that fervently seeks after Him.
Practice makes Perfect
Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
There are many ways to meditate on the Lord, the principles of effective time with God can vary in experience but maintaining consistency is key to keeping that time fruitful.
*The Right Time. It can be very difficult to find time to spend with the Lord, the days can be long and difficult and unless a person is adamant about their time with God, finding a period that is uninterrupted can be difficult. Planning for moments of solitude sets the mind on a mission and gives rise to patterns that become an expectation. The one who works the early shift might have to set their alarm clock a little earlier, the mom might need to find time during naps or in the evenings after kids are in bed.
There is almost always time during the day, the question is whether it’s a priority.
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.”
*Positioning for success. If a person is constantly having to dodge people, cross traffic, be inundated with noise, or fend off inquiries, the attempts at meditating on God’s Word will be filled with tension. Finding a quiet place to walk might allow the focus to stay on the subject and not on the chaos. A comfortable chair, or a soft grassy area can enhance the opportunity to listen to all the Lord wants to reveal. Expressing the deepest thoughts and concerns to God can be a way to release the tensions of this world and give opportunity for the Lord to respond.
Psalm 23:1-3 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.”
*Staying on Subject. Meditating upon scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage. The written Word becomes the living Word when it is experienced first hand. Spending time in scripture is not determined by the quantity of scripture read but the depth of understanding drawn from it. Meditating on scripture can be a time for analyzing the passage or understanding how the message resonates with life. I’m convinced that any portion of God’s truth can relate His purpose and will when someone is willing to listen. Scripture has a recurring message that simply builds on itself, the pattern becomes a revelation, like a surge of energy stripping away the false front of worldly philosophy.
*Maintaining Consistency. Tension can build over time. Go on a relaxing vacation after being in a stress induced job 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 into our normal everyday lives so that when time away does occur, it isn’t such a dramatic shift but an enhancement of what we are already doing. If an interruption occurs that changes your schedule, find a time later to refocus on what is important. How a believer wants to respond to God’s leading determines the direction they are going in life.
Remembering the Word
Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
When considering God’s path of righteousness, if the Word remains in the heart it continues to guide throughout the day. Taking in the Word and receiving it allows it to become a focal part of life.
When dwelling on God’s truth, it’s important to think of yourself not as a casual observer but as an active participant in God’s plan. Even if a person doesn’t follow Jesus as His disciples did, they can still follow Him today by the leading of His Spirit. If we read stories of the prodigal son, of Ruth or Esther, and then place ourselves in their position we might recognize the circumstances they endured is not a lot different than what we experience. The details will vary but the principles remain the same. Godly principles are timeless and endure generationally, as we recognize that mankind’s position hasn’t really changed since the fall–the Bible is far more relevant than ever.
Psalm 104:34 “May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.“
Can a fragmented life be turned into wholeness? There are so many little moments that capture the attention and then pass on. Giving time to recenter on these moments lends to a complete narrative that guides in recognizing patterns of God’s intervention that may have been overlooked. There have been 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 showing me the path He wants me to go. 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 143:5 “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.“
Consider 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 easy for Him. Our problems may seem big to us because we are in the midst of them but step back and look at them from God’s perspective and you might see them in a different light. The level of importance for that promotion, where to live, what career path to take, prospects of marriage, these all grow less overwhelming the more we see the magnitude of God’s power. What was thought as holding so much importance is placed into an eternal perspective when placed under the light of God’s plan.
1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
Aligning the modern with His majesty. Life can become inundated with too many issues, 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 plans can be a useful method of meditation. When a person looks 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. A small step away from the world and more into how God sees it, changes the believers mission from being a victim of culture to being an ambassador to a culture in need of God’s love and truth. The political environment has revealed the darkness by which it operates. Pandemics become models of change by which God is preparing the world for a greater revelation of His glory while He continues to shake out the false teachers who have tried to circumvent God’s righteousness.
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.