27. Partake – The Christian disciple and Meditation
Psalm 119vv22-27: Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws. Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees. Your laws please me; they give me wise advice. I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
The Psalmist here describes the benefits of reading and meditating upon the Bible. God’s words become a delight as he follows God’s decrees. A sense of wonder is instilled as God’s word is meditated upon. Strength overcomes tiredness as he listens to God speaking through the Bible. These are also true for the Christian disciple!
For some people, meditation is passive and involves being quiet, saying a chant, letting the mind go blank and seeking to experience God. However meditation for the Christian disciple is active. It is the filling of the mind with the Bible and not the emptying of thought. It is also not seeking to experience God’s presence, as God is always present with the believer through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Meditation is where imagination is involved and allowing God to speak through the Bible. How is this done?
Whilst aiming at the positive and the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2), mental prayer is meditation, which involves both reason and intellect. The use of reason and intellect in meditation is achieved through the mental and spiritual process of reading the Bible, so that it becomes a living part of the Christian disciples’ life. By internalising God’s words from the Bible into the heart & mind, God’s thoughts become the Christian disciple’s thoughts. Meditating on the Bible enables the words of the Bible to infiltrate all areas in the life of a Christian disciple.
For meditation to be effective, silence and solitude are prerequisites. However, silence and solitude should not mean loneliness but rather be an aid to meditation, reflection, understanding & peace. One example of how to mediate involves memorization, visualization, personalization and activation. Memorization is to rebuild our thought patterns by memorising words in the Bible passages especially those related to problems we maybe facing or those that glorify God. Visualization is to try and understand God’s words and thoughts from His point of view. Personalization is to stabilize the emotions expressing the words of Bible in the first person. Finally, Activation, which is to draw new conclusions and make new life changing decisions based on the Bible. This all helps in the process of becoming more like Jesus in the journey of the Christian disciple. It also equips us for doing battle with satan and resisting temptation. Jesus fended off and attacked satan by using Scripture correctly so as to negate the temptations. That is why it is a weapon in the spiritual battle. Satan will do all he can to get Christian disciples to compromise their faith, fall into sin and not read the Bible.
Reading and meditation on the bible does many things for the Christian disciple. It equips the Christian disciple for service of God and to convict people of sin. Then as it equips, it is essential for evangelism and pointing others to Jesus. An example of this is when Philip was talking to the Ethiopian about the Christ; it was Isaiah 53, which was the point of query. It also equips in order to give counsel & help others, such as when Paul urged Timothy to use Scripture when teaching others. Then it equips the Christian disciple to use their spiritual gifts, so that the whole church is encouraged and God is glorified. Spiritual maturity derives from building Bible knowledge into the life of the Christian disciple.
One of the very key teachings from the Bible is that God can be known personally. Personal knowledge of God is ultimately crucial because knowing God personally and developing the relationship is what being a Christian disciple is all about. Christian disciples should be rejoicing that God earnestly desires them to attain this knowledge of Him, in order to know Him more and more. The Apostle Peter commands that we grow in the knowledge of Jesus as part of our spiritual journey. The Christian disciple does this in order to become more like Jesus, developing an intimate knowledge of God and of developing an intimacy with Him.
The Bible reveals that God has a program for the universe and it is only revealed in the Bible. So reading and meditation upon it is vital in the life of a Christian disciple. The overall will of God, is that all people come to believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and their Saviour. After starting the Christian life, the new Christian disciple discovers God’s program from humbly reading the Bible. Meditating on the Bible helps the Christian disciple to grow into spiritual maturity and into the ultimate goal of becoming like Jesus. The Christian disciple reads and meditates upon the Bible regularly, knowing the desire to be like Jesus is the goal.
For more to think about please do read for yourself: 2 Timothy 3:15-17. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. What benefit does Paul say I can gain from the Bible?
Q2. What is the relationship between the Bible, God and me?
Q3. How can I adapt my day so that I can spend time reading and meditating on the Bible?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.