Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lost Art of Loving God, Part Three: Meditation

Have you ever wondered how Joseph or Abraham lived a godly life without 66 books of the Bible to read through in a year?

The answer is found in this truth: We do not grow spiritually through reading God's word. We grow through meditating on God's word - and, one might add, on God's character and promises found there. Furthermore, God never says to simply "read" -- He tells us to meditate on what we read:

Psalm 1:1-3, emphasis added:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

This is not merely semantics. I think people are often discouraged because they read a chapter of the Bible each day, or a few chapters a day, yet don't find this rewarding - especially if they have read the Bible in the past and its pages are familiar. But to meditate on God's word implies pondering a passage's implications; it implies praying, repenting, changing direction in our heart, setting new goals, offering praise, and numerous other applications of the passage we read. It means, I think, reading slowly and thoughtfully. It means turning the passage over in our mind throughout the day, not merely reading it and hoping for the best.

Abraham and Joseph thought long and hard about God's promises. They lived not perfect, but certainly significant, lives of godliness. We have even more promises contained in God's word. Should we simply read them, or meditate on them?

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