"As meditation is the best preparation for prayer, so prayer is the best issue for meditation."
The Millenials (the under 30 club) are often referred to as "Generation Y" because of their tendency to ask "why" at every opportunity. Although every generation has questioned "why" to some extent, never has that question been more prominent than in this present day. We should never be afraid of "why". What we should fear are the places from which the answers come. The internet has made it possible for anyone who knows how to type and has access to a computer to receive a place at the table on any subject. Unfortunately, so many who want to know "why" are receiving their answers from unqualified voices.
For those who want God's answer to their questions, the only source qualified to answer is the Word of God. Beware of those who would answer outside the covers of the Book. The best commentary of the Word is the Word itself. The best interpretation of the Word is the Word itself. The best illustration of the Word is the Word itself. This does not mean we cannot use other writings to explain our thoughts and position. It does mean those writings must be firmly entrenched in the Word in order to be viable.
So, to address the question of Why? as it applies to the importance of meditation, we must again go to the Bible. It would take far longer than one blog post to adequately explore the reasons the Word tells us to meditate. So, for blog purposes, we shall just consider the following:
1. If we meditate upon God's word, it will keep us from sin.
Psalm 119:11-"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
I love what Tim Keller had to say about this:
". . . Persons who meditate become people of substance who have thought things out and have deep convictions, who can explain difficult concepts in simple language, and who have good reasons behind everything they do. Many people do not meditate. They skim everything, picking and choosing on impulse, having no thought-out reasons for their behavior. Following whims, they live shallow lives. The people who meditate can resist pressure--but those who do not go along with the throng, chafflike, wherever it is going."
I feel a major reason so many are unsure of what they believe and are "tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine" is because they have never learned nor made the choice to meditate God's way on His word.
Simply reading the Word does not implant it firmly. We read the newspaper, the magazine, the blog posts, the books. We must do more than read.
Simply deciding to live for God or commit our lives to God or live a certain way does not give us any power. Storms of life will come. Circumstances will change. Age, time, distance, and experience will soon dim the strength of that initial decision. Living a life God's way and resisting sin takes more than willpower and decision.
Simply praying according to our thoughts and desires is not what God commands. To pray without having the Word hidden in our heart is to open ourselves to possibly "asking amiss." We must know what He wants us to pray in order to pray effectively.
According to Psalm 119, we must meditate--hide the Word in our heart, not our mind, in order to keep our lives from sin. The power of the Holy Ghost connecting with the eternal Word gives us power and strength to overcome any obstacle or temptation from the enemy.
2. If we meditate upon God's word, the Gospel will be advanced.
1 Timothy 4:15-"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."
In this reference, the word profiting seems to refer to the furtherance of the Gospel.
We are all called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not just those in official ministry capacity are called to share the Gospel.
In my personal associations, I have heard many people say, "Well, I don't know as much about the Bible as the preacher . . ." or "Well, it's not my job to interpret what the Word says . . ." or "I'm sure somebody else knows way more than me about what that means . . ." and I always cringe a bit on the inside when I hear those words.
Yes, we are all different parts of the body. But the entire body grows and matures and ages, not just certain parts. We are allcalled to advance the Gospel. We are allcalled to further the cause of Christ in our own corner of life.
Yes, some may have more knowledge than others or more understanding or more wisdom. But if we will but meditate the way God has commanded us, we can all further the Gospel and our profiting will be evident to any who observe.
3. If we meditate upon God's word, we shall be prosperous.
Joshua 1:8-"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."
Psalm 1:2-3-"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3-And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
We all want to prosper. We all want to succeed, to advance, be successful, and make progress. And that is exactly what Scripture tells us will happen to us if we meditate.
But there is also another aspect of the Hebrew word for prosper (H7643-tsalach) and it means "to finish well." I love this!
Regardless of past mistakes, past sins of commission or of omission, regardless of age, station in life, or how many times we have fallen, we have another chance to succeed.
We have another chance to finish well.
By simply making the choice to meditate on the word of the Lord throughout every day, our whole life can change course and finish well. What hope our Redeemer offers us! He has given us a way of escape in every failure.
4. If we meditate upon God's word, we shall have peace in our souls.
Psalm 119:52-"I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself."
Psalm 119:23-24-"Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24-Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors."
Psalm 119:80-"Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed."
". . . Meditation brings blessedness--a very fulsome idea in the Bible. It means peace and well-being in every dimension. It means character growth, stability, and delight (Psalm 1:2). Meditating on the law of the Lord, the Scripture, moves us through duty toward joy."
The whole world wants peace. Everybody you or I know needs peace. Everybody you or I know is facing a challenge in their life.
Stress is killing us.
Counselors are prolific.
Anger (due to lack of peace) is bubbling under the surface of so many lives.
Fear is insidiously invading every crevice of our homes.
Where is peace?
I am boldly and assertively stating that peace will only be found if we go beyond reading the Word, beyond praying the Word, and beyond living the Word. We must do those three things. Absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt.
But we must add meditation.
Without meditating on the Word after we have read it, before we pray it and before we attempt to live it out, we will never achieve the deep, inner calm and assurance He said His word would bring us.
If you have been searching for the missing link in your life in your search for true peace and you have received His spirit, been baptized in His name, read His word, and pray His word, I am offering you the most overlooked discipline: meditation on His word.
Every single thing we need to fulfill our lives is bound up in the Book if we will only immerse ourselves in its pages.