A New Year
What water is to a tree, is meditation on God’s word to a Christian
Meditation on God’s words to us in the Bible will cause us to flourish like trees planted by streams of water, making us weighty, solid, and of substance. On the other hand, if we don’t meditate on God’s word we will be without weight and tossed about in the winds of this world.
Many Christians make resolutions in the new year to commit themselves to reading more of the Bible in the coming months. This is a great resolution, but let me encourage you to not just read the Bible, but to meditate on it: take time; mull it over; ask questions of what you read; ask questions of yourself; learn new reasons to praise God; learn new ways to apply what God says to your everyday life. Spending time in the Bible in this way will surely lead to great benefits.
The Benefits of Meditation
Thanks to the increasing popularity of yoga and the practice of mindfulness, many blogs and newspaper articles can be found on the benefits of meditation. Christian meditation is different from eastern meditation or mindfulness meditation (with a focus on God and his words rather than an emptying of the mind, relaxation, or a focus on the self) so we need to articulate our own benefits.
Thankfully Christians have been writing about the benefits of meditation for a long time. The puritans of 16th and 17th Century England wrote extensively on the subject. Pastor and Theologian Joel Beeke has identified 22 different benefits of meditation from puritan writings. We’ll focus on six of these.
6 Benefits of Meditation
- Meditation helps us to love God more. God is love and knowing him more is what produces more love in us, for him and others.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
- Meditation leads to wisdom. Knowledge of God’s words is not the same as godly wisdom for our lives. Through meditation we can reflect on how God’s word applies to us and how we can live it out.
- Meditation helps us to pray. As we internalize and process God’s words to us, we can use these truths in our prayers back to God. This is what best helps us pray “your will be done.”
- Meditation helps us to repent and leads to transformed life. Sometimes we are slow to turn from going our own way against God, but time in meditation allows God’s word to penetrate through our stubbornness.
When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies. Psalm 119:59
- Meditation is a powerful way of protecting ourselves from temptation. As we are taught by God we will be better able to recognize temptation as distortions of God’s truth, and know that God’s way for us is much, much better.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
- Meditation helps us praise God more, by impressing upon us more of his beauty, greatness, power, and holy character. As we come to know him more through meditation we will further love seeking his glory in all we do.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5
Which of these benefits excites you the most?
With such a list, and more beside, why not give meditating on God’s word a go in 2019!
For the full list of 22 benefits and other reflections on meditation, see Joel Beeke’s essay “The Puritan Practice of Meditation”