During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.
Maybe you have read the Bible, but have you ever felt it? I don’t mean ‘have you felt it’ by running your fingers over its pages, but have you felt the truth of the passage resonate deep inside your heart and mind?
That’s what Christian meditation is. It is feeling Scripture deep in your life so that you thrive like a tree by water.
Psalm 1 refers to the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
The Hebrew word for ‘meditate’ is to moan, murmur, muse or feel something very deeply. Meditation means reading a Bible passage so deeply that in it God moves your soul, and you murmur your resonance with His truth for your life.
Christian mediation is different than – and very much at odds with – eastern meditation. Eastern, mystical meditation is about emptying your mind of all rational thought and just being open to the universe, whatever that means. (Tim Keller, “How to become Evergreen: Meditation on Psalm 1”)
Christian meditation also rejects secular meditation which is about focusing on your inner self. The aim of secular meditation is to get in touch with your own soul to release the energy within, and also to free yourself from outside pressures.
Neither of these forms of meditation can cure the soul’s true need. One is an attempt to erase the self; the other is the attempt to find the answer in the self.
But the soul’s real need is to connect with the God who made us and who alone can save us from all our sins and troubles. Only He can give us real life and joy.
The place to meet this one, true God is in His Word, the Bible. That’s God’s place of unchangeable, unbreakable Truth, where we meet God’s Light and Life. When you meditate on His Word He will meet you, fill you, and move your soul with His life-changing presence. It does not empty you, but fills you.
Psalm 1 speaks of meditating on the Law of the LORD day and night. The word ‘law’ means ‘instruction’ and in this context refers to the whole Bible, everything that God has spoken to us.
So what does it mean to meditate?
- It means to read the Bible. Find a passage and read it closely and carefully. Don’t run roughshod over it and trample most of it into the ground like cows in new pasture. Read a chapter or two with focus.
- Then fix your mind on a particular verse or truth in that passage. Take a few minutes to think about it, and let it sink in. Ask God to help you understand it’s meaning accurately, and to apply it to your life honestly. Jot down a note or two of discovery.
- Be regular in it. Not once a month. Not hit and miss. Psalm 1 says ‘day and night.’ The point is to make God’s Word the regular food and drink of your soul to guide you, challenge you, and comfort you.
- Delight in it. The key to delighting in Scripture is knowing Jesus. He delighted in God’s Law and kept it perfectly. (see Psalm 40:8) Without knowing Jesus, the Bible is a heavy burden. It condemns us, convicts us and crushes us. But when we see Jesus who carried the heavy burden for us, the law becomes a delight.
Because of Jesus who was condemned and crushed on the cross for our sins, the Bible now becomes for us a place of living water. There we meet Jesus telling us how He lived and died for us, and rose again. There we hear Him calling us to live our lives for Him.
So take some time at the beginning of each day to meditate on God’s Word. If you have a little more free time on your hands these days, settle in to this good, godly, and very meaningful routine.
In this way you will not just read Scripture, but feel it deeply. It becomes water that satisfies your thirst for a closer walk with God. It becomes food that feeds your hunger for a stronger walk with God.
For too many Christians, the Bible is a much-neglected book. How sad that needy souls drink so seldom, and in such small sips, from the well of living water that is right beside them. And we wonder why God seems so distant from our daily lives!
Meditate on God’s word, and let His truth sink deeply into your life, so that you feel God’s truth, are filled with God’s presence, and flourish in God’s holiness.