French philosopher Rene Descartes posited the idea that thought, even doubt of one’s existence, was enough to prove existence. Thought, he thought, was proof of life, among other things.
If thought is an important element of existence, then thought is intimately involved in “being.” What we think, how we think, the things that we think about, taking time to just think – these are all a part of “being.”
I want to focus in on one biblical concept of thinking, though – meditating on God’s Word. Remember, we are considering some practical ways to help ourselves make space to “be.”
There are a number of passages in Scripture that speak of meditating on God’s Word, but this is one of my favorites: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8, NIV)
What does it mean to meditate on God’s word? How do you do that, exactly?
Fortunately, the word meditate itself gives us a couple of pictures that can help us understand:
- To meditate is to ruminate, to think deeply about. It literally means “to chew the cud.” We talk sometimes about “chewing on something.” It comes from the picture of a cow chewing on its cud. So to meditate is to take a thought – in this case, a phrase or verse of Scripture – and to ponder it, chewing it over. Thinking about it intently. Perhaps thinking about it, moving on to other things, and then coming back to it, just as a cow would regurgitate its cud and chew on it again. (Wonderful picture, isn’t it???!!!) So a practical way to “be” with God is to pick a verse or a phrase of Scripture in the morning, write it on an index card so you can carry it with you, and take a few moments at the beginning of the day to sit with God and meditate on the verse. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through that verse. Then throughout the day, pull out the card again several times and read the verse again. Take a moment again to consider it. Finally, end your day by taking a few moments to again meditate on the verse. Since the Bible is God’s inspired word to us, by spending time meditating on His Word, you are considering His thoughts and words, and “being” with Him!
- To meditate also means to mumble or to murmur. This picture is that of someone muttering under their breath – like an actor, rehearsing his or her lines in the process of memorizing them. So to meditate on God’s Word is also to rehearse it, to repeat it quietly to yourself – declaring God’s Word over yourself, in other words. This is also a simple thing to do throughout the day. Let me give you an example, using a phrase from 1 John 4:8 – “God is love.” It’s a simple thing to remind yourself throughout the day, “God is love. So therefore God loves me. And God loves everyone around me.” You can also make declarations about it: “God is love. And Jesus is in my heart, and the Holy Spirit fills me. So I am full of love today.” Or, you can simply repeat the phrase or verse, emphasizing different words: “GOD is love. He is the source of love, the definition of love. God cannot not love! God IS love. He exists as love – no one can change that about Him. God is LOVE. Whatever I or anyone else thinks about love, God is true love. The truth about love and what it looks like is revealed by God, and in God.”
So those are a couple of ways to meditate on God’s Word, which is another simple way to “be.” Why not try it for the next couple days? In fact, imagine what your experience of worship could be on Sunday if you take time to “be” with God, meditating on His Word, for just a few moments before going to church?
If you’re interested in learning more about following Jesus, check out my new devotional book, Forty Days of Walking With Jesus: A Devotional Guide, now available on the Kindle Store. A paperback version will soon be available.