Many of us are so used to dwelling on and talking about the things that bother us, and how bad things are, that we really don’t give much thought to half of what we are thinking about or saying. We just let all kinds of stuff hang out in our minds and fall out of our mouths. Yet if you constantly think on and replay all the things that are wrong or not good in your life, you are actually opening the door for much of the same.
Why? Because we have a spiritual enemy –
Satan – who is more than happy to accommodate our negative meditations and speech. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce
hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” The ancient Greek for ‘roams about” or “walks about” means to walk at large, to be occupied with, and to follow someone. Essentially, the devil is dogging our steps and is in tactical training against us.
Job 3:25 says, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded
has happened to me.” The ancient Hebrew for “feared” and “dread’ are speaking of CONTINUAL thoughts of fear and/or intense anxiety.
It’s like a soldier on the field of battle facing his enemy. If the soldier suddenly drops his weapon and cowers in fear, it gives his enemy an advantage to move in close and harm him. As Christians, like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle, and we have a malevolent enemy – Satan - who is intent on our destruction. The way that Satan most attacks is through our minds - our thoughts – because our thoughts affect our emotions, and the combination of both can cause us to make wrong choices and bad decisions in life.
The fact is that our meditation – the kinds of things we HABITUALLY dwell on, think about and focus on - can often be a door by which Satan gains entrance to cause havoc in our lives.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
The ancient Hebrew for “thinks” is shawar, meaning to act as a gatekeeper. We are the gatekeepers of our minds and thoughts. We decide what thoughts to keep and meditate on, and which ones to deny and evict.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
The heart in this verse refers to your mind. Guard your mind. Guard the kind of thoughts you think about.
Paul tells us what to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” So we are to discard those thoughts that set themselves against the knowledge – the words, the wisdom, the knowledge – of God, and we are to take our thoughts captive to make them line up with what God says.
That is why God places so much emphasis on our studying and meditating in His Word.
His Word is powerful; it is positive and life-giving for His children. It holds the answers to the situations we face in life. Our minds are bombarded daily with all the fear and negativity of the world around us, and it comes through television, especially the news, and films, music and people around us. If we are filling our minds with the thoughts of the world, it is no wonder that we are stressed, worried and afraid!
In Proverbs 4:20-22, the Lord urges us, “… give attention to My words; Incline your
ear to My sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to ALL their body (being).”
God’s Word is LIFE and HEALTH to all our being. The Word of God is powerful (Hebrews
4:12); there is power in the reading, meditating and speaking of it. That is why we must give attention to God’s Word, incline our ears to His sayings, and keep them in our minds.
When you give attention to something, you meditate on it; you focus on it. You think on it. You make it top priority over other things. Inclining your ear to God’s Word means more than sitting in church to hear a sermon (although that is important). Inclining your ears means opening your spirit, mind and heart to meditate and ponder on the Word, and to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you through it. We need to fill ourselves up on the Word and make it the final authority over all things – like a doctor’s report, the symptoms you feel, or the circumstances you are in… because all of these things are subject to change by God’s power. He is the God of the impossible!
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO MEDITATE?
Now I realize you may be thinking, I’ve got 3 kids, I’ve got pets to care for, I work all day, I have things to do – I don’t have time to meditate!
However, did you know that worry is meditation? Dwelling on and constantly talking about your problems is meditation. In its simplest definition, meditation is focusing your attention on something to the point that it never completely leaves your consciousness. Worry is meditation on something negative, fearful or evil. You can go through your day at work, doing everything you planned to do, and the whole time meditating on whatever problem or concern has consumed your thoughts. You still did all the things you had on your to-do list, but your mind was worrying about all these other things. You can do the same thing with a passage of Scripture through the day. If you can meditate on worry all day, then you can meditate on God’s Word instead.
These are some general steps the Lord has shown me to use meditation in renewing my mind to His Word.
1. With the Lord’s guidance, I identify the topic (like fear, healing, or enemies, etc.) or passage of Scripture to meditate on.
2. I pray before I read, study or meditate in God’s Word, something like, “Father, prepare my mind to understand Your Word. Open my spiritual eyes and ears and heart to receive all that You want to teach me and show me. I close the door to any hindrances or deception of the enemy, and I will only receive instruction from You. In Jesus’ Name, I pray.”
3. I look in the Word for Scriptures relevant to my topic or the verse or passage I feel led to focus on. I often write the verse(s) in a notebook, or on an index card so I can reference it readily.
4. I meditate on the verse(s) in the following way:
I read it silently a few times. I read it aloud. I may memorize it. I sit quietly for a while thinking about the verse(s) and listen for any instruction or encouragement from the Lord through it. I may do a word study on the main words in the verse(s), using a concordance, the Vine’s Dictionary and other reference materials. I think about how the verse or passage applies to my life, and how do I arrange my life to be more in accordance with the Word. I personalize the Scripture by speaking and praying it aloud in “first person.” As I do this, it cleans my thinking and replaces it with the Word of God.
EXAMPLE – LEARN TO MEDITATE
PROBLEM SITUATION: I am afraid and worried about my future.
1. PRAY: Ask God to lead you to the Scripture He has for your need, and to help you
2. FIND GOD’S WORD: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares
the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” AND Proverbs 23:18 “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
3. MEDITATE: Read the verses silently and aloud. Try memorizing them.
4. THINK: God says He knows the plans He has for me, and they are good plans to
prosper me and not to hurt me, and to give me hope and a future. That means God
has a good future for me. He even says that SURELY there is a future hope for me that will not be cancelled.
5. PERSONALIZE & PRAY THE SCRIPTURES (see #7 below)
NOW IF YOU CAN MAKE THE TIME, YOU CAN GO FURTHER by adding a Word Study.
6. WORD STUDY on the verses (using Bible Concordance, Hebrew/Greek Lexicon, Vine’s Dictionary and other resources)
“plans” meaning thoughts, plans, purposes for my life;
“prosper” meaning welfare, health, healing, prosperity, peace, contentment, friendship,
relationship with God, wholeness and safety
“future hope” meaning my future, a happy event
“hope not cancelled” meaning an expectation of things hoped for
This means that God has thoughts, plans and purposes for my life, and they include
welfare, health, healing, prosperity, peace, contentment, friendship, relationship with God, wholeness and safety. He says that there is a future hope – a happy event – for me that will not be cancelled, and my expectation of things hoped for according to His Word will not be cut off.
7. PERSONALIZE & PRAY THE SCRIPTURES: Lord, I thank You that You know the plans You have for me, and they are good plans to prosper me and not to harm me. They
are plans that include welfare, health, prosperity, peace, contentment, friendship, relationship with You, wholeness and safety. I can have an expectation of good things from You and my hope will not be cut off! In Jesus’ Name! Amen!
8. WIELD THE SWORD: When the worry about my future tries to come against me, I
respond with the Scriptures I meditated on: “No, my God has a good plan for my future, a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, in Jesus’ Name!”
THAT is how you wield the Sword of the Spirit, of the Word, against the designs of the devil against you!