It has often been said that we become like those we associate with. Well, a similar thing can be said for our minds. What we choose to think about, to let our minds dwell on, determines and shapes future thoughts. If we choose the good things, we will be training our minds to think of those things which honor Christ. Our thoughts will be of what is best.
Continuing on this series of what we choose to think about, we’ll examine the concept of meditating upon Scripture. Now, let’s give some context so we can accurately understand what this means. Let’s begin with Psalm One.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”Psalm 1:1,2
There is a lot that could be said about this passage, but I want to really hone in on verse2. In contrast to the “council of the wicked,” the Psalmist points us to the Word of God (v. 1). The blessedness of the godly man is not just that he avoids becoming like the world, but that he chooses to meditate upon Scripture. Of course, the same is true for the godly woman.
But the point is turning from something to focus upon something else. The word “but” at the beginning of verse 2 is the hinge. Not only that, but there is a literary technique used in that verse that highlights the importance of the Bible (the technique is known as a chiasm).
Now let’s move beyond these generalizations. Verse 2 is divided into two halves, and the first half says that the blessed man delights “in the law of the Lord.” The word Law here stands for the entire Word of God, so don’t think it’s just talking about Leviticus or Deuteronomy. But hey—there is a lot we can learn from those books, but that’s for another time.
The text here teaches we ought to “delight” in God’s Word (v. 2). How do we do that? Well, the second half of the verse adds some clarity. It says, “In His law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). The meditation is not anything like New Age meditation or removing oneself from the body. Rather, it is a conscious choice to think about and consider something, in this case, Scripture.
So often, we read a verse or passage, and we just move on. Or we might even memorize it, but that doesn’t mean we’ll actually think about the words. I’ll be honest—I struggle with this just as much as anyone. It is so easy to go on about our day and not take the time to do this. But back to the point. Let’s take an example.
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” To meditate on this passage, we have to choose to think through the different elements of the verse. What has Paul said that makes him say, “therefore?” What does it mean to imitate God? What exactly are we to imitate about Him? What does it mean to be “beloved children?” (v. 1) You get the picture.
And we don’t just have to do this when we’re reading our Bible in the morning. What about on a break while drinking coffee? How about relaxing on the couch? What about actually making time to meditate? I know, this can sound foreign to our Western ears, but this is what the Psalmist is talking about. It’s what God is calling us to.
And the reason why this is so important is that it makes His Word a part of us. Instead of just “knowing” what the Bible says, we truly understand it, have searched it out, and have it deep within. It’ll come out in our speech, it’ll direct our decisions, and it can be used by the Spirit to help us overcome sin. The benefits go on and on.
This is why we must choose to direct our minds to think about the Scripture. Not just in a cursory way, but to truly consider what God has said. Paul says we are actually to “dwell on…things” that are “true” and “honorable” and “right” (Philippians 4:8). Nothing meets those criteria better than Scripture, and nothing will produce a greater benefit. We must choose to meditate on Scripture. It is how we learn to honor Christ.