“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give
you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the
road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the
doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Have you ever experienced a really difficult situation? Sure you have! No one skates through life without difficulty from time to time. So how did you cope? Where do you turn when life begins to feel overwhelming?
There are many ways people deal with life. Some use unhealthy behavior like drug or alcohol abuse, inappropriate relationships, food, or other excessive actions. Some people cope by reaching out to friends or family, seeing a therapist, talking with a pastor. Something that is overlooked is meditation. I’m not talking about meditation as a form of avoidance or temporary relaxation technique. I’m talking about finding that quiet place to absorb the word of God. Pastor Richard Foster writes, “Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind; Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind.”(1)
God often uses our meditation on his Word in Scripture to speak to us, encouraging us as we endure difficult situations, reminding us through his Word of his faithfulness and love, giving us hope for what is ahead. Reflecting on the Word is not simply for getting us through tough circumstances either. Meditating on God’s Word helps us to live continually in response to the living Word, Jesus Christ.
Here are a few suggested practices of meditating on God’s Word. As a reminder, we shouldn’t feel like we need to try all of the practices. Ultimately it is not about the practices, but about letting God do his work in growing our faith, hope and love as we focus on him and live in response to who he is and what he has done.
- Memorization: Select a short passage to memorize. Allow the words to ruminate within you as you go throughout the day, repeating it several times to yourself. I’ve always struggled with this one but there are certain verses which I cling to and am thankful I can pull the words that have been embedded on my heart.
- Pick a passage to read over or listen to several times. After the first reading, read it through again slowly, listening or watching for any words or phrases that stand out. Take note of the word or phrase and then read through the passage for a third time. How is God calling you to respond to his Word?
- Verse-mapping: take a verse and map it out like you were taught in middle school English. Here’s a good place to start. https://kristycambron.com/verse-mapping-101-steps-to-study-the-bible-like-never-before/
- As you read through Scripture, jot something down that stood out to you and consider reflecting on it with someone else this week. What is God placing upon your heart through His word as you begin the first full week of Lent? If you’re honest with yourself, He’s probably calling you to come out of that comfort zone of lukewarmness.
(1) Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 17.