Habits to Aid Your Meditation on God and His Word
This article originally appeared on the Well-Watered Women Blog.
Have you ever longed to sit and savor a moment? Maybe it was the first time your baby was placed on your chest, or the feeling of a spring breeze carrying the scent of honeysuckle to your nose. That moment when your boyfriend went down on one knee, or when you gazed upon the earth from the summit of the mountain you just conquered. If we could bottle up those moments, I bet we would.
What if those things are meant to draw our eyes upward? What if savoring those moments is meant to cause us to savor the Savior? What if savoring leads to meditation on God and his Word?
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” (Psalm 119:15 ESV)
We seek the Lord through the study of his Word, gleaning knowledge and wisdom from the pages and applying it to our daily lives. Opening our prayer journals, we call out to the Lord with various petitions and praises. And even throughout our day we pause to pray for our friends and family and various requests of our own. But meditation? Typically, at worst, our minds think of a dangerously mystical practice. At best, the idea seems utterly foreign to us.
What Does it Mean to Meditate on God’s Word?
I want to be clear here: this is completely different from the type of meditation the world speaks of—the type through which a person seeks to empty her mind. Rather, this is a meditation in which one seeks to fill the mind with the Word of God, leading to a deeper love for him.
Meditation on God’s Word and who he is as revealed in his Word is a spiritual discipline that’s simpler than we’ve made it out to be. It can cause our hearts to have a greater devotion to the Lord. You may already be doing it without realizing.
I love what Charles H. Spurgeon says about meditation in his devotional Morning and Evening:
“Hearing, reading, marking, and learning all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.” Meditating on truths about God acts as a digestive enzyme, breaking them down to nourish our souls.
In his book The Practice of Godliness, Jerry Bridges lays out a simplified definition that has helped me better understand what Christian meditation looks like. He explains, “When we meditate on the Scriptures, we talk to ourselves about them, turning over in our minds the meanings, the implications, and the applications to our own lives.”
Unsure of where to start? I’ve found a few habits helpful to guide my heart in this spiritual discipline. I hope they’ll help you too.
My husband pokes fun at me for the hoard of colorful pens and highlighters I use as I write out various passages in my designated “Scripture-writing journal,” but I’ve truly found it to be a life-giving habit. You don’t need fancy pens, though—just a single pen and some paper.
You can follow a plan or simply pick a book of the Bible or a Psalm and get to writing. The point isn’t to just fill a page with words, but in writing the words to think about them, letting them sink into your mind and heart. Ask yourself, What is this passage telling me about God and his character? Is there an opportunity to repent of sin exposed by these words? What is comforting about the truths I see here? Writing out Scripture can aid us in meditating on it so it sinks more deeply into our hearts.
Praying God’s Word back to him obviously helps with our prayer time, but it can also help us meditate on God himself. As we pray Scripture, we have to think about what we’re saying, making it personal to our current circumstances. It causes us to be more mindful of what we’re reading—to ask questions, to ponder as we pray. Pondering the Word of God is meditating on it.
Ponder How Earthly Things Point to Christ
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how everything is “from him, through him, and to him,” like Paul says in Romans 11. All creation declares the glory of the Creator. I’ve discovered that pondering how earthly things point us to God’s character is helpful in fixing my eyes on Christ.
A thunderstorm reminds us of his fierce judgement (Psalm 29:7), or a rainbow declares to the world our God is a promise keeper—a covenant upholder (Genesis 9:12–17). When I comfort my baby as he cries, I remember my Good Shepherd and the Comforter of my soul (Psalm 23). The eagles at the nearby park soar and make nests at his command and bring him glory with every flap of their giant wings (Job 39:27). All of creation sings truths about God. He is kind, he is just, he is holy, he is faithful, he is worthy, he is creative, he knows all, sees all, provides for all—he is God and we are not.
Watch the robin build her nest, feel the warmth of your husband’s embrace, see the bee gather pollen, and let it all draw your eyes upward to Jesus.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Meditation is really a way of turning our eyes upon Christ and beholding his glory. And in doing so, we will be changed. Our devotion to him will deepen and our willingness to obey his Word will be magnified because we love him.
May we all seek his face today in his Word, and may he change us more into his likeness as we savor him.