Strengthen Your Spirit and Soul Through Meditation
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, …But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law, he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1: 1-2
As we close the chapter of 2022 with reflection, we welcome the new year with anticipation and hope. Strengthening our inner spirit and soul in 2023 can be a vital component in our walk with the Lord. Meditation on scripture is an excellent practice to strengthen us in the New Year!
Unlike transcendental meditation or mindfulness, meditation on the scriptures is not emptying your mind. It is filling one’s mind and consciousness with the words and works of God. To meditate on scripture is to think deeply about what God has said to us. Timothy Keller, Biblical scholar, describes such meditation as a bridge to prayer, preparing our hearts and minds. It lies between bible study and prayer. In Philippians, Paul instructs the reader to “work out your salvation” (2:12). How do we do this?
The following highlights from Keller’s sermon on Mediation helps clarify what meditating on scripture means, ultimately working out one’s salvation. This action is a discipline of grace! He divides meditation into four parts: the promise, the principle, the practice and the puzzle.
Meditation on Scripture: The Promise
Keller explains there is a hollowness to all of us. Meditation on the scriptures allows us to become a person of substance and stability. This allows us to grow through a fruitless season. It is not good fortune for good behavior.
“Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.”
Meditation on Scripture: The Principle
Meditation is the preface to prayer. Keller speaks of two types of prayer. The “calling” prayer is when the human starts. Answering prayer is when God starts the conversation through His written word. He sets the tone! More than once the author of the Psalms cries out “praise the Lord, oh my soul”. Who is he talking to in this verse? He is talking to himself telling his soul and heart to listen! You ask yourself, how should you be/act/live/behave, if you are bought with such an incredible price? The nature of meditation is communing with God through your spirit and heart. Keller states it is “the way to make the Bible into a burning bush, out of which God is speaking”.
Meditation on Scripture: The Practice
Jesus knew scripture and frequently quoted and lived it! Martin Luther had four questions that he would pose to himself when meditating on Scripture:
- Teaching: what is the passage teaching?
- Adore God: what does the passage teach us about God?
- Confession: What am I not doing?
- Supplication: ask the Lord to make you a tree with firm foundation in your faith
Meditation on Scripture: The Puzzle
“His delight is in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2) is where a principle becomes a reality. How do we take great pleasure in the Scriptures? The answer is in Christ, who is the ultimate meditation of God. Jesus is the stream of water, where our roots are found. He thirsted for us on the cross, and now we drink from Him. We have a very special conduit to God because of the incredible gift Christ gave us at the time of the cross. Our spirit can commune with God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut.6:5-9).
Practical Tips on How to Meditate on Scripture:
Peter Adam, vicar emeritus at St. Jude’s Carlton, gives us further practical tips on how to meditate on scripture:
- Use the same passage of the Bible every day of a week. Soak yourself in it!
- Memorize a key verse from the reading.
- Turn the words of the Bible reading into a prayer (own them).
- Say the verses aloud to yourself.
- Put copies of the verses throughout your home.
Adam gives some counsel on where to start.
“Here is a selection of verses for meditation. Make sure that you study the verse in its context, so as to get its full meaning, impact, and power. Combine depth of study with constancy and range of meditation!”
- ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: fools despise wisdom and instruction…. Get wisdom!’ (Proverbs 1:7, 4:7)
- ‘Teach us to number our days that we may gain a wise heart.’ (Psalm 90)
- ‘See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are’. (1 John 3:1)
- ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort’. (2 Corinthians 1:3)
- ‘Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds. (James 1:2)
- ‘You must consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus’. (Romans 6:11)
- ‘We make it our aim to please him … for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ’. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
- ‘We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal’. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
- ‘I know your works’. (Revelation 3:8)
- ‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer’ (Psalm 19:14)
- God’s words should be our daily food, for, ‘Humans do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4).
The Wellness Resource Team wishes you a very happy and fruitful New Year! May you be blessed daily with God’s written word and The Living Word, Christ our Savior!