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The Lost Art of Spiritual Meditation (Psalm 1)

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Meditation is an important, yet often neglected, spiritual discipline of the Christian life. What may in fact seem to be a matter of miniscule importance could actually prove to be all the difference in determining whether or not you are a Christian in the first place! 

The parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 reveals the difference between two different types of “hearers” found within the church: those who immediately receive with joy the implanted word of God only to soon forget it before gradually withering away and dying, and those who receive the implanted word, understand it, and bear much fruit.

Just to be clear, Jesus is not describing here two different types of believers (mature vs. immature), but rather two different types of hearers—those who persevere and those who fall away, those who truly belong to God and those who have merely an “appearance of godliness” (2 Tim.3:5). Both are at least interested in the same thing, namely God’s word, yet one has deceived himself (Jas. 1:22)!

That hearer, Jesus says, “has no root in himself” (Mt. 13:21), while the one who perseveres is “like a tree, planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Ps. 1:3).

What makes the difference? The one who hears and understands delights in the law of the LORD, “and on his law he mediates day and night” (Ps. 1:2).

What is it that occupies your thoughts? What do you delight in? Truthfully, all of us “meditate” on something or someone. The struggle, of course, is always for us to redirect our thoughts and desires heavenward (Col. 3:2).

So how can we begin to do so (or get back to doing so)? We have to first understand that a casual reading/hearing of God’s Word will always lead to a superficial understanding of Scripture. Knowing the word is one thing, but spiritual meditation moves beyond simple rote memorization of key Bible verses. It enters a realm where we allow Scripture to have its way with us as an active and living force—“piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

When this kind of spiritual meditation becomes an everyday discipline is when God’s Word proves transformative—“no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).

God, help us not to be tossed to and fro like the rest of the world, who are “like chaff that the wind drives away…and will not stand in the judgment” (Ps. 1:4-5). May our lives be planted and rooted firmly in the good soil of faith and obedience to your Word. May it even become our delight as we mediate upon it day and night (Ps. 1:2). 

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