Chapter 6 – The Goal of Biblical Meditation

So, what should happen when we meditate?  What is the goal, the desired outcome of it?

One way, among many, to describe the goal of our salvation is that we would be conformed to the image (or likeness) of Jesus.[1]  To quote a well-loved professor of mine, “God loves His Son so much that He purposed to fill all of heaven with those just like Him.”[2]  And, as I stated earlier, one way the Father refers to His Son is as the Word of God made Flesh.[3]

So, the Word of God (the Living and Written Word) is designed to be written not only in history and on paper but in our lives, on our hearts.  Its purpose is to shape our lives so that we become more like Jesus.  This is a primary goal of Biblical meditation.

God has always wanted what He says to us to land in our hearts.

God has always wanted what He says to us to land in our hearts.[4]  He wants us to have ears to hear[5] and a mind transformed to His will,[6] but that is part of the process, not His desired destination.  The destination has always been our hearts.  He knows that when they are in our hearts, they will then get lived out in our lives.[7]

Immediately after God gives the Israelites the Ten Commandments, He said, Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me[8] and These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.[9]  The wise writer of Proverbs encourages his son to Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.[10]

Then, in establishing the New Covenant, He says, I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.[11]  As New Covenant believers we should see this as a normal process for us.  And Paul, the primary writer of the New Testament, was able to say to the Corinthian believers that You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.[12]

How does God’s Word get written on our hearts?  Just as the Holy Spirit was the agent of bringing the Living Word and the Written Word into this world,[13] so also He is the agent to write His Word in our hearts and conform us to the Son.  Jesus said that when He left He would send the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to guide us into all truth.[14]

Biblical meditation is much more than a mere mental exercise.  It is a spiritual process whereby the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and mingles in with my spirit.  The end result is that eternal truths are written in the deepest part of my life and I am more like the Savior.  Just as the Holy Spirit hovered over the first creation,[15] He also hovers over His new creation[16] to make us like Jesus.

What is the goal of this process?  The goal of Biblical meditation is to cooperate with the Spirit of God to let the Word of God get written on the hearts of the people of God.

Here is my friend, Steve, and his story…

The end result is that eternal truths are written in the deepest part of my life and I am more like the Savior.

“Joy unspeakable and full of glory!”  That seemed to be my signature verse, my life – at least for the first two years of my walk and relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Then the “bottom” fell out.  Or maybe the wonderful wave of the Holy Spirit I was riding washed me up on the beach.  For the next year I struggled to get back the wonderful euphoria of joy and blessing in the Holy Spirit through a life of legalism.  “Surely, if I could make God happy be doing all the right things then He would return all the wonderful benefits of His Spirit in my life,” I said to myself.

Instead of joy, all I seemed to get was great depression.  An honest friend said to me at the time, “You look like a rainy day walking down the street.”  And I felt like I lived in a dark cloud with little motivation, no joy, and much self-condemnation.  After about a year of struggling with depression I ran into Romans 10:8, the word (of faith) is near you, in your mouth and in your heart…  I realized that my heart was not pumping words of faith and life but instead it was pumping words of doubt and death through my thinking and self-talk.  Little by little I realized I needed a new heart and it was only through replacing the old lies in my heart with new truth from the Scriptures that my heart would be changed.

But equally important as believing something different in my heart was to also speak different words with my mouth.  I found Scriptures that addressed and showed light on the difficulties I faced in my thinking: the way I saw myself as compared to how God saw me. I thought on these Scriptures and I also spoke them often. At first it seemed hypocritical to speak such wonderful truths when I still felt awful inside.  But I believed the truth in Scripture was more powerful than the wrong thinking and lies in my own heart.

Sometimes, my meditation process became very vocal.  I found myself shouting loudly to “convince” my listening heart that we are making a change—to line up with God’s Word rather than my old heart and way of thinking!  In about six months of this meditation process – my heart went from “pumping death” and unbelief through the subtle self-talk that runs throughout the day – to pumping a new flow of life through a new kind of self-talk that was full of faith, hope, joy and thanksgiving from all God is and does and wants to be in my life!

Since the goal is to have God’s Word written on our hearts, how do we engage in the process of meditation?  What do we do?  That’s next.  But first, let’s pray.  “Father, I invite You to write Your Word on my heart!  Now, show me some of the specific things I can do to make that happen.”

 

[1] Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (See also Galatians 4:19)

[2] John Mitchell (founder of Multnomah University) in his Spiritual Life Class.

[3] John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

[4] Deuteronomy 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. And Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (See also Jerimiah 24:7)

[5] Matthew 11:15 Whoever has ears, let them hear. (See 13 other cross references)

[6] Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

[7] Deuteronomy 30:14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.  (See also Deuteronomy 32:44-47 – specifically “they are your life.”)

[8] Deuteronomy 5:29

[9] Deuteronomy 6:6

[10] Proverbs 3:3

[11] Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10

[12] 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

[13] Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.” and 2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

[14] John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

[15] Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

[16] 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

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