“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prosper.” (Ps 1: 2-3)
How will you look to change by the end of 2029, one decade from now? What will form you for good or for bad? What practice might you embrace that will affect the trajectory of the decade ahead?
As I have thought back on my decades as an adult, one practice stands above others in its effect on my life; the practice of meditating on Scripture. I wish I could remember the source that inspired me to begin the discipline. Though I have been far from consistent over the years, I find that I return time and again to the practice. Meditating on Scripture shapes thoughts, perspectives, actions, habits. It molds us in invisible ways far beneath the surface. The author of the book of Hebrews captures this perfectly when he says, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) In other words, it seeps into the essence of our DNA. No other book approximates its power!
Meditation has mixed connotations in our day. I picture a person repeating a mantra, attempting to empty their mind of all thought. The biblical practice of meditating is not the same as the widespread practice these days of mindfulness. To meditate in the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament means “to mutter, to ruminate.” Two images arise. The first is of a person who is walking around muttering under their breath as if he cannot stop obsessing over a thought. The second is the image of a cow chewing its cud. The idea is chewed, swallowed, regurgitated, chewed again, and swallowed until it is thoroughly absorbed. Meditating is the practice of muttering and ruminating (chewing the cud) on Scripture. It is the most complete form of internalizing God’s Word.
These two pictures, muttering and ruminating, give us quite a different way of approaching the Bible. Far from a quick read of a chapter a day, meditating chooses deep over wide. While there is immense value in gaining a broad overview of the stories and themes of Scripture, meditating balances this with the life-altering benefit of making Scripture infuse our very being. Psalm 1 captures the value when it says that for the one who meditates of Scripture, “whatever he does prospers.”
Imagine the impact a decade of meditating on Scripture would have on your life. Start small by taking a favorite passage from the Bible and lingering with it. If you want a suggestion of where to begin, try Matthew 11: 28-30. Chew on it. Journal about it. Visualize it. What does it mean? What difference would it make if you believed it completely? Come back to the same passage the next day and the day after until it takes deep root. Live with it until it becomes a part of you. One passage, fully believed, can change your life forever. This is the power of meditating on Scripture.