So far we’ve learned that spending time in Scripture must become a priority—a severe discipline—in our lives. We’ve also considered a few practical ways to make that happen. But we will keep ourselves from much blessing if we halt our discussion at the discipline of reading and don’t talk about the discipline of meditation.
The moment I mention the word meditation, however, it is possible that you are immediately drawn to images of people sitting in the Lotus Position: eyes closed, legs crossed, with palms up on one’s knees, with the thumb and middle finger on each hand slightly touching. That’s because our culture is fascinated with eastern-style meditation, and, most recently, something called “Mindfulness” (although mindfulness experts do not all insist on one specific kind of posture, even though they would say posture is important). Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4: What is Biblical Meditation?”
A few months ago I wrote an article entitled, Meditate on a single verse for the good of your soul. I would like to add to that subject some helpful quotes from Don Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, to help us see the vital importance of Biblical meditation and the detriment of hurried disciplines.
- “Puritan Pastor Thomas Watson has the answer, ‘The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation'” (49).
- “The result of such meditation is stability, fruitfulness, perseverance, and prosperity. One writer said it crisply: ‘They usually thrive best who meditate most'” (49).
- “It is possible to encounter a torrential amount of God’s truth, but without absorption you will be little better for the experience. Meditation is absorption” (50).
- “Maurice Roberts wrote these words from Scotland in 1990: ‘Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness. At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness. We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess…It is not the busy skimming over religious books or the careless hastening through religious duties which makes for a strong Christian faith. Rather, it is unhurried mediation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character'” (55).
- “Among the best of the practical Puritan writings came from the pen of William Bridge. On meditation he asserted the following…’Reading without meditation is unfruitful; meditation without reading is hurtful; to meditate and to read without prayer, is without blessing'” (73).
By and large, I think many of us need to slow down. We need to recapture the health giving practice of slow, patient, Biblical meditation so that our roots might grow deep and the trees of our life, strong.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not whither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.–Psalm 1:1-3.