Don’t Miss Out on Meditation

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Episode Synopsis

What does the Bible teach us about the beauty and benefits of meditating on God’s Word? How can you get started?

Audio Transcript

Heidi: Welcome back. We’re so glad to have you guys with us today.

Heidi: To remind you, we have been talking about going deeper with God. In our last few episodes, Jani has been discussing how just as our bodies need nourishment to grow and do the activities that God has called us to do, our souls need nourishment, too. And that nourishment can come through spending time in his Word, through reading different portions of the Bible. And today we’re going to talk about something that I had never really heard teaching on before I did your discipleship group two years ago, Jani, on meditating on Scripture. I am so excited to share this with you all and to learn what it means for us to take God’s Word in and really hold it in our hearts and let it help to carry us through our days.

What does it mean to Meditate on God’s Word? 1:22

Jani: Thank you, Heidi. I think it’s so important to go beyond our daily Bible reading, to go a little deeper with the Lord through meditating on his Word. Now, what do I mean by that? I wonder if you’ve ever heard of meditation or you’ve ever tried to meditate. You might get kind of creeped out that maybe that’s a near eastern spooky, scary kind of thing. It’s not at all. It’s very biblical. Let’s talk about it today. I believe it’s a vital part of our spiritual growth and I want to encourage everyone listening to go deeper with God through meditation. Meditation, I can promise you, will produce beautiful, lasting fruit in our lives.

Jani: Now, meditation isn’t prayer and it really isn’t Bible study, but it can be a link between what you read in God’s word, what you pray over and your hour-by-hour thoughts and feelings and actions. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t hard. If it was, Heidi and I couldn’t do it, right?

Heidi: Yes!

Jani: As Pastor Rick Warren has said, “If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.”

Heidi: Yes, I like that Jani. That is one of my favorite quotes.

Jani: I’m really a champion worrier, Heidi, so hopefully anyone who can identify that will relax and understand. If you can worry, you already know how to meditate. We all have thoughts that kind of camp in our brains. They just sit there in our hearts. We chew on them, we play with them, we toss them about—we meditate on them.

What does the Bible say about meditation? 3:17

Jani: Well, what does the Bible say about meditation? The Bible teaches a lot about this very special spiritual discipline that we don’t talk about very much.

Consistent meditation on God’s Word results in beautiful, sweet benefits.

Jani: One of the things it says is that consistent meditation on God’s Word results in beautiful, sweet benefits. Heidi, would you read Joshua 1:8?

Heidi: I’d be happy to, Jani. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”

Jani: Hmm, day and night. That tells me it’s an all encompassing and somewhat organized discipline.

Jani: Psalm 1 talks about the person who meditates being “blessed”; one who meditates on God’s law, will be happy. Now this isn’t indicating a superficial joviality, but a deep, strong and enduring sense of well-being. There will be fruit and growth for the woman who meditates. Psalm 1:2-3 tell us that this kind of woman will be a woman of substance and stability. We’ll come back to that in a minute. So the Bible tells us that consistent meditation will result in sweet benefits.

There’s an acceptable way to meditate

Jani: It also tells us there’s an acceptable way to meditate. One that pleases our king and is motivated by a love for God’s word. Heidi, could you read Psalm 19:14 for us?

Heidi: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Jani: Hmm. That prayer is that my meditation would be acceptable in his sight. And then Psalm 104:34 puts it this way. “May my meditation be pleasing to him.” There’s something about the way we meditate that can put a smile on God’s face. It can please him. So there’s an acceptable way to meditate, one that pleases our king.

It’s a tool to pass on our joy in the Lord

Jani: Meditation is an important tool also to help us pass on our joy in the Lord to the coming generations. Now, Heidi, you have three little ones. My kids are all grown and gone, but I have several grandchildren I want to pass on God’s word to. Tell us what Psalm 145:4-5 say.

Heidi: “One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

Jani: Meditating on God’s Word will help us pass it on to the coming generation. We want to be women who do that. We don’t want it to stop with us.

What does meditation look like? 6:31

Jani: Well, you might be thinking it all sounds good, but what does it look like? One of my heroes of the faith is Pastor David Roper. His wife Carolyn and David have ministered so much to Ray and me. They head up Idaho Mountain ministries, and David writes,

“Meditation is withdrawing your roots from the world of men and things and letting them travel to the river of God, taking pleasure in his counsel and drawing it into your soul. To meditate is to mutter or speak softly with the implication of speaking quietly to one’s soul. It’s what an earlier generation of Christians called spiritual reading. Spiritual reading is not Bible study as we normally know it. You might be thinking of observation, interpretation, application, but meditation is a process that leads us to prayer. It means reading the scriptures slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully, and then speaking it to ourselves until our hearts are touched.”

David Roper

Jani: We must give the word time to enter and saturate our souls. Psalm 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

Jani: In Psalm 1, we have a picture of what meditation is. The picture is of a tree drawing from its roots on streams of water—feeding on it. Just think for a minute. What does it mean to be a tree? Well, a tree draws water in and uses that water to produce fruit. Meditation is making a truth a reality. It is a drawing it into our souls. It’s not a quick sip of water through a straw, but a life giving drink drawn up through the roots into stems and then out into branches to bear leaves and fruit. When you meditate, ask yourself, “If this is true, how will it change me—both my inner man and my outer actions?”

Jani: Meditation is speaking to your soul. Let the words you meditate upon affect you mentally, emotionally. Let these words become real to you and bear fruit. I love how Jeremiah puts it in Jeremiah 17:8. Would you read that for us, Heidi?

Heidi: “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jani: Not anxious. That’s how meditation can help us, can’t it? Yes. Well, let’s talk just for a minute or two about when we should meditate. We’ve talked a lot from Psalm 1. Verse 2 in Psalm 1 says we should meditate day and night. In other words, I take it to mean when I wake up and when I go to bed, and in a very real sense, all the hours in between. The ESV Study Bible comments on this verse, “…facing every situation, be it ever so mundane, with a view to pleasing the Lord by knowing and following his Word.” This takes time. How fast do roots grow down into streams of water, after all?

Jani: Charles Spurgeon put it this way,

“You will not be able to extemporize good thinking unless you’ve been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. Store your minds very richly and then like merchants with crowded warehouses, you will have goods ready for your customers and having arranged your good things upon the shelves of your mind, you will be able to hand them down at any time without the laborious process of going to market, sorting, folding, and preparing. Take it as a rule without exception that to be able to overflow spontaneously, you must be full.”

Charles Spurgeon

Jani: I like that quote from Charles Spurgeon. One of the ways to fill your heart with God’s Word is through meditation.

Heidi: And one of the ways to overflow it on to other people is through meditation, too. I love that—that it’s hiding God’s word in our heart so that at the time when it’s needed, the Holy Spirit can stir it up into us and he can minister to others as well.

“How do you meditate on God’s Word?” 11:34

Jani: Yes, yes. Heidi, why don’t you share with our listeners how you meditate. Are you meditating on a verse these days?

Heidi: Yes. I’ve actually been meditating on one verse really throughout the entire year. It’s Jeremiah 31:3 and it’s so simple. It says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” In discipleship group, Jani taught us to pick one verse of Scripture and spend time praying over it. Don’t over think it. Don’t think, “Oh, I have to find the perfect verse,” because sometimes that cripples me and it takes me so long to try to find the right verse. I just say, “Lord, what is something that I can meditate on? Something that my heart needs to know right now.” Then I get note cards and I write it down and I put one note card by my nightstand. I often put one note card on my mirror. Sometimes I’ve had a note card in my car.

Heidi: I love Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” And I think of that as I go throughout my day with my children to have these scripture meditation verses in different areas. When I rise, let me think of him saying, “Heidi, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” And when I’m getting my cup of coffee in the morning, “Heidi, I have loved you with an everlasting love” and in the car that verse speaks to me a lot about what scripture meditation is.

Heidi: What about you, Jani? What are you meditating on right now?

Jani: Well, I am meditating on Colossians 4:17. It says, “See to it that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord Jesus.” I’m meditating on that, Heidi, because of this podcast. When I was asked to do this podcast, I was very nervous and hesitant, and the Lord spoke to me through this verse through one of our children. So when I get nervous or when I’m preparing to talk with our listeners, I camp on that verse. “Lord, help me. Help me to fulfill the ministry that I’ve received. Don’t let it stop with me. Let me pass it on.” So that verse, as you do, I write it on index cards. I keep one in my Bible, and, just like you, on my bathroom mirror, in my kitchen, in my car. And when my mind starts to wander, I mutter this verse to myself. I coo it to myself. Sometimes I have to roar it to myself like a lion, “Jani, come on, don’t be scared. See to it that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

Heidi: One of my favorite other places that I didn’t mention is, I also love to make a lock screen on my iPhone with a verse that I meditating on. And then I love every time that I pick up my phone because it’s so easy to think, oh, let me just scroll through Instagram or on Facebook, but the first thing that hits me is a verse of Scripture from the Lord.

Jani: That’s a great idea. Thank you, Heidi.

Jani: I hope our listeners—let’s challenge them. Why don’t you who are listening ask the Lord for a verse that can become special to you over these next few months. Pray over it, think over it, and then write it out. It doesn’t have to be long. It can even just be a phrase. It doesn’t have to be a full verse. Write it out and meditate on it. Chew on it.

Heidi: “Lord, Let our minds be filled with your word instead of our anxious thoughts that so often want to rattle around inside.”

Jani: Yes. Rather than worrying about them, let’s meditate on the word of God.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. To discover more about Jani and Ray, visit their webpage at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

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He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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