We probably too much have a picture of meditating as sitting on the floor with legs cross and fingers curled (for some reason I cannot imagine) in a sort of “OK” sign. Weird. I think this is called the “lotus position.” At this stage of life, I also think I’m physiologically disqualified from that particular contortion.
But you don’t need to do something so “Eastern mystical” to be in a position of meditation. You simply need to have your spiritual roots sunk into the Word of God on a regular basis.
Today we look at the second of four descriptions of the truly rooted person, noting from Psalm 1:2 the positive description of a person who is well-resourced by the Scriptures …
1 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, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Do you delight in meditating on God’s Word? You find time for what you delight in and what you know you truly need. At some points of my life, I’ve delighted in the good benefit of an exercise program, but at other times I have not valued it highly enough. In both instances I have reaped the consequent gains and losses.
Speaking of both exercise and meditation, these have really come together for me over the past two years. As you hear me talk about cycling a lot, when I want to really think about things without the distraction of getting run over by a truck, I’ll go ride on a trail of some sort. And I have come off such rides with fully thought-out plans of action for various topics.
Your brain tends to meditate upon that which it has most recently been fed. The illustration I shared in the sermon Sunday about this relates to the classic book “Gone With the Wind.” I saw this past week that it was published 80 years ago. I read that in high school and have seen the movie a long time ago and remember parts of it. But if I re-read that book today, over the next week or two, when seeing certain sights, they would trigger something from my reading … like a large old mansion house, or an antique carriage, or a long formal dress, or any mention of the word “Scarlett” or “Rhett”. Even the reason that this came to my mind illustratively is because it was already in my mind from the past week.
So also, if your mind is regularly being filled with Scripture – even reading a passage for the 50th time – it will be there when you see something that triggers your memory of it. AND, it will be there for you in the time of crisis.
Recalling the story I opened with in the sermon and in yesterday’s devotional, the father of the girl said to me in the first moments after the incident, “You know, it hits me right now, you don’t have time to get ready for something like this, you either are ready or not.”
A few horrible and unexpected events are going to happen in all of our lives. One of them is rather permanent. The time to be ready is now.
Beyond that, for daily life, in the same way that we physically are what we eat – what we choose to nourish ourselves with, good or bad – we are spiritually what we feed upon for our thinking / our minds. What we think determines what we are and what we do and how we evaluate and live all of life. God designed us this way, and He has given us a resource to guide us into a life of success as we live in covenant relationship with him.
Consider this great passage given to Joshua as he took over leading the nation of Israel after the death of Moses …
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So how is your life of meditation? It doesn’t need to always be in a planned and quiet place. But you need to have a full tank of Scriptural resources to draw upon at the exact time it is needed. Most of the time the airbag in your dashboard is not very practical, though the day may come when you really appreciate that it is there as a resource in a moment of crisis. You get the idea.
… and then there are scriptures that challenge us and demand our attention. For example I once had to really wrestle a scripture that says to esteem other Christians better than by myself. It was something that I had to keep remembering again and again and again for about half a year before I could get any level of proficiency in carrying it out. You see “knowledge puffs up” and among the Christians I associated with I had a much higher level of knowledge than they did.
Yet love is so superior to knowledge and I can’t claim to be superior in that regard. Also whatever skills or talents or character that I have it is because God taught that to me or gave me circumstances that developed those talents. And if I am ever superior in love my mindset will not be one to reflect upon it. Just the thoughts of a “worm” – “an unworthy servant” – or a human who “stumbles in many ways.”
May God extend his grace to his people so we may know the best way to serve him.