"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous , and then thou shalt have good success.” .Joshua 1:8 (KJV)
If you have been following my blog for the past two weeks, you will know that we have been examining elements of spiritual disciplines provided by our friend, MR.-MAP. MR. MAP is an acronym that assists us in maintaining our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let’s review the components of MR. MAP:
M = Memorization
R = Reading
M = Meditation
A = Application
P = Prayer
In today’s blog, we will consider the discipline of Meditation.
M = Meditation.
The book of Joshua provides the account of a new leader who has been appointed for a nation under the governance of God Almighty! His predecessor, Moses, primed Joshua with some salient advice encouraging a smooth transition in leadership and leaving the nation with a leader that was led by the Lord. Moses understood that you can't lead the people to God if you are not familiar with God. How can a man know how God thinks if he is unfamiliar with His Word? We know that what we think can influence our behavior: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7b KJV).
Therefore Moses charges Joshua to meditate on the Scriptures in order to maximize optimal success in his new appointment! Likewise we must purpose to practice the third discipline of MR. MAP (mediation) which will move us on the path of spiritual success.
The object of meditation for a disciple of Christ is always HIS infallible and inspired word. Meditation includes reading the Word of God with purpose and thoughtfulness. We must mentally park on the principles for the purpose of application and understanding. Furthermore the Author of the Scriptures aligns our mind and our conclusions with His mind.
In popular culture today, we see a different type of meditation encouraged through the influence of eastern religion. This type of meditation emphasizes controlled breathing, repetition of mantras and an emptying of the mind. However, biblical meditation is thoughtfully driven by contemplation and concentration on the Scriptures - not by controlled breathing or an incessant repetition of mantras. In biblically-based meditation, thinking is not eliminated but engaged. This is the type of meditation that is authorized and sanctioned by the true God and eternal life Jesus Christ. Any other form of spiritual contemplation is absolutely prohibited according to the Scriptures. Meditation motivated and mastered under mysticism is forbidden for all true followers of God. The Scriptures powerfully pounds the point that we are to meditate on the word of God.
"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Psalm 1:2 (KJV)
"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways." Psalms 119:15 (KJV)
When we meditate, we ponder on the what, why, and the how of the text. We visit things like: Who is speaking? What is the context of the text? What is the verse saying, or not saying? Is there a personal instruction for me or for others? Is there an admonition or a promise? Again, this is the kind of meditation that is encouraged and sanctioned by scripture. When the faculty of our minds is fixed in a biblical frame work, it will forward success in all facets of our lives (Joshua 1:8).
As I was pondering the practice and discipline of meditation, God gave me the concept of marinating. To assist my appropriation of this truth, I asked a personal friend of mine who is a reputable and accomplished professional chief about the benefit of marinating meat in preparation for a meal. He shared with me that whenever you marinate meat you are altering the chemistry of the meat. The acidity of the marinade restructures the texture by tenderizing the meat and permeating the protein (flesh) with flavor.
Thus after my lesson in preparing a succulent and savory steak, I was able to arrive at an application for this illustration. In comparing the practice of meditation with marinating, the mind represents the meat and the Scriptures represent the marinade or solution that will restructure our thought lives. Remember: how we think gives tremendous weight to our conduct. Meditation is a discipline that will dictate your direction down the direct path of discipleship.
Join me again next week as we discuss the other disciplines of MR. MAP.
For the Glory of God,