By Jennifer Miller
Have you ever read or heard something that did not immediately register with you? You needed to get more concrete information and ponder what the message was saying or teaching you. People normally like to mull things over before they decide or apply a concept to their lives. Our scripture through a daily reading of the word or a devotional allows us the room to absorb the information and to see different angles to discern what our Lord is teaching or showing us. I compare this to a meal placed in front of me. Here are the items on the menu and I start small with maybe an appetizer, but then I start to progress and move on to the bigger items of the meal. However, keep in mind as you take that first step, that first bite, you need to let it linger a moment or two to see if you like it or if you are willing to step further outside of yourself and try more. It takes a bit to digest and absorb. Once your appetite is satiated, you either move forward to the main meal or you walk away. Keep in mind that you make the choice – decision and not someone else.
Scripture is meant to be taken in small bites and then as you continue to grow, you can move on from the milk and onto the solid food. I want to focus on what meditate on the word means, how it is applied, and some tools to help you on this spiritual journey.
So, what is biblical meditation? It is the use of every faculty of your heart and mind, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit; thus, allowing you to discern or reason the word, seek whatever God wants to show us, understand the verse by knowing the context, allowing us to be open to the discipline and wisdom of the lesson and then leads to transformation. Repetition of a word, phrase or theme stresses the importance of this to God. For example, we are told over 365 times not to worry or be fearful. There is a reason for that; thus, stressing that message again and again.
Meditation is another theme that is stressed multiple times in The Bible: as we see in Psalms 119:15, Joshua 1:8, 1 Timothy 4:15, Philippians 4:8, Mark 4:24 and Matthew 4:4.
“I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
“And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.”
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
God is always speaking to us, but we must make the time to listen. It is in the intimacy of the silence that we learn to wait and hear from Him. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Him alone. We are more open to the word during this time. Humble yourself, be patient and let Him speak. As you are waiting, ponder the scripture repeating it over again as you begin to memorize it and let it seep in and see with the eyes of the heart.
Keep a journal handy as you do this because He may respond with thoughts, verses, or pictures. God knows what you are the most responsive to and that is how He will answer you. For example, I have had certain verses pop into my mind as I ponder, or I have seen pictures from old movie formats because that is something I connected with in my childhood. The message is shown in a language spoken, written or visual that I can identify with. It is a tool He uses. What works for me may not be something you experience. Take keen notes. Was there an emotion attached to the message or anything you felt a connection to? Record this in your journal and see if a pattern develops or if there are anomalies that occur. Inquire on that for clarification as to what that may mean. I also like to have reference material with me such as a commentary, study bible, books that I can refer to about the culture at that time, and several dictionaries in Greek, as well, as Hebrew. Keep in mind that everything must be tested to line up with the scripture and with God’s character. Seek your pastor to confirm if this is indeed coming from God. Then take the message and apply it to your life.
Next, pray fervently and continuously. This is a work in progress (as are you!) and should not be looked at as a habit, but rather a desire to remain faithful to our Lord. He does hear us, and He does answer us. Note your prayers in the journal and mark when they are answered and what come from it. His word is not void and neither will be His responses. It will always bring a harvest.
Finally, we must apply whatever He teaches us. Our lives cannot be fruitful if we fail to do this step. Continue to pray on this if you are unsure how to apply or do what He asks of you. God always speaks to us, but we must be willing to listen, learn and then obey whatever He tells us. When we start out in little pieces by listening to the word, we can progress from milk and then tackle the meat through devotionals and works and become more dedicated. We are armed and ready to serve Him. Remember we are His servants, chosen to do His work for His glory. Find a quiet place, schedule time, and connect with our Lord. He would love to hear from all His children. Use these tools wisely and reap the joy of a fulfilling relationship with our Lord. God bless.