Though God in this threefold revelation has provided answers to our questions concerning Him, the answers by no means lie on the surface. They must be sought by prayer, by long meditation on the written Word, and by earnest and well-disciplined labor. However brightly the light may shine, it can be seen only by those who are spiritually prepared to receive it.A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 14.
Tozer’s words remind us that we must think well when it comes to knowing God as he has revealed himself through Scripture and through the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). The Knowledge of the Holy encourages believers to meditate on God’s Word. With Tozer’s writing in mind, when is the last time you just sat and thought about God? Admittedly, taking time to sit and think or just thinking in general does not come easy to us who live in a fast-paced American culture.
The internet has exacerbated our thinking problems, and social media has, in some sense, taken away our time to just sit and think due to our fear of missing out in the online world. To illustrate the busyness of the American culture, I was pastoring a church a few years ago, and I had them sit in silence after the service ended for about a minute. The silence made some people in the room uncomfortable–including me–because our lives are so “noisy” with everything happening around us.
My goal in this post is to provide you with 5 helpful tips that I have utilized when meditating on God’s Word. This week, I decided to sit down and think about and write down what God tells us about himself as our Father. The concept I wrestled with was: Lord, please help me understand the attributes about you as my heavenly Father that you have revealed to me in Scripture.
Here are the 5 steps that I implemented during this time of meditation that I hope you will find helpful in your own spiritual walk with Jesus.
- Pray. Prayer is probably the most important step when it comes to meditating on Scripture. Praying before you meditate allows you to get into a posture of submission before approaching God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the text for you. A good way to open in prayer would be to ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to his Word, and to expose the glory of God and exalt Jesus during your study. We should not approach meditation as merely an academic exercise or the emptying of our thoughts, but rather as growing in our relationship with the living God by learning more about who he says he is in the Bible.
- Read. Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish in your time of meditation, read the Bible passage over and over again. For example, if you decide to meditate on one text of Scripture, consume yourself with reading it as many times as possible. If you are going to take a topic (like I did), read all the passages you can that convey that subject. To put it in the context of this article, read all the passages in Scripture that discuss God as Father by using a concordance. Immersing yourself in God’s Word will help you with the next tip–thinking.
- Think. As you read, think. Take a moment to pause and reflect upon what you just read. Thinking correlates with meditating. Take time to really give yourself a mental workout by concentrating on what the text says and what God meant when he wrote it. Meditating will not be easy work because during this time, we are thinking about an infinite God as finite human beings. We are trying to grow in our love and knowledge of God, which will be difficult work because we have so many things in life that prevent us from learning more about our Lord who is holy. However, the difficulty of this act should not prevent us from doing it as believers, but rather challenge us to work at it so that we will do it well.
- Write. This point has two concepts associated with it. First, writing will help you as you think. Write your thoughts down in a journal and read over your words. Are you thinking about God correctly? What is God teaching you about himself? Moreover, keep writing until your mind feels like it has nothing left–then, read and write some more. Second, writing down your thoughts will allow you to remember and reflect at a later time what you have meditated on in the past. When you return to your thoughts at a later date, you will be amazed at one of two realities: 1) how much you have grown in your walk with God, and 2) recalling the biblical attributes of God that you had forgotten since the time of your writing. I highly recommend getting a prayer and meditation journal to do this activity because you can go back and physically see how God is working in your life.
- Pray. Before you end your time of meditation, pray. Thank God for that precious time with him in his Word. Show gratitude to God for what you have learned about him during this activity. Praise God for opening your heart and mind even if you feel it was only a little. Meditating on God’s Word should never be considered time wasted because God’s Word always works in our lives. Of course, we will have better days than others, but we need to remember we are growing in our relationship with an infinite God so enjoy the process and do not be too hard on yourself. In whatever God reveals in his Word during this time of devotion, praise and thank him for it when you are done.
The list I have provided may not be exhaustive when it comes to meditating on the truths found within God’s Word, but perhaps it will help some readers who have never included this form of spiritual discipline into their personal time of devotion. My encouragement for those who have never practiced meditating on the Word of God is to start out slow and build as you grow. Our fast-paced American society has hurt us in the area of sitting still, in silence, and thinking about God. Therefore, it will take time to overcome our busy habits, but spending uninterrupted time meditating on the truths of Scripture will be a joyful experience as you reflect on a living God who desires to walk with you in life and who has saved you from your sin through Jesus Christ.
“For as the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:10-11