Chew on Scripture to Transform Your Life
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger...A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger...A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger...A gentle answer turns away wrath..."
Learning to repeat scripture is one of the crucial spiritual exercises for Christians who want to grow stronger in their relationship with Christ, and to transform their minds to be more Christ-like. To understand repetition, though, we have to see what the Bible says about biblical meditation. In Psalm 1, David remarks that the godly man avoids the counsel of the ungodly, the path of sinner, and the seat of the scoffer. But instead of focusing on those things, the godly man meditates on the laws, principles, and virtues of God. There are incredible promises made for the person who meditates on Scripture. Check out these passages:
How does biblical meditation work?
The word meditate in Psalm 1 is the same word used to signify a cow chewing its cud. You can surely visualize a cow that takes some grass and chews and chews and chews, expressing the nutrients from the grass before it swallows it down into one of its four stomachs. After a period of time, the cow brings the grass back up out of its stomach, adds some new grass to the old grass, and chews it some more before swallowing it into another stomach. It repeats this process a number of times until all the nutrients of the grass have been pressed out and absorbed.
This is the way the Hebrew mind sees meditation.
It is taking Scriptures and repeating them over and over again, allowing the truths, insights, applications, and wisdom of Scripture to be pressed out and absorbed by into your mind and soul. There are a number of different ways to meditate, but the dominant way to start is to just repeat the verse(s) over and over out loud. This is different than other forms of meditation, which many in the world practice to bring peace and calm to the mind, often focusing on a nonsensical thought or materialistic idea. Biblical meditation works to actually change or transform your mind by allowing the wonders of God's Word to soak in.
When I first became a Christian, one of the men who led me to Christ said that good Christians meditate on Scripture as they go to bed at night. I wanted to be a good Christian so I began to repeat Scripture as I was falling asleep at night. I only knew one verse of Scripture -- the beginning of Psalm 1:1-3. So I repeated it over and over again every night. I emphasized different words. I would say it slowly. I would say it quickly. I asked questions about the words, phrases, and conclusions of the verses. What I found was that my mind began to take the Scripture's perspective as my own. I also found that the longer I did this repeating of the Scriptures as I went to bed, a number of good things began to flow into my life. I got better grades in school; I ran faster in track; I began to get better dates and conversations, and I began to see God guiding me through the ideas and wisdom in the verses.
I now try and memorize a new verse of Scripture every night so that as I go to bed I can repeat it until I fall asleep. I will usually read through the Proverbs, Psalms, or some other passage and ask the Lord to show me which passage I need to know and or extract key information from. I read slowly with my question or issue in mind. Whatever verse captures my attention as the answer to that question or dilemma I quickly memorize so that I can say it slowly as I go to bed. I am regularly amazed at the insights and direction I receive from God because of my repetition of the verse.
I do not try and remember the previous night's verses as I plunge on to the new verse each night. I am certain if God wants me to remember that verse, He will bring it back to my mind. As I have done this over the years, this is how God has renewed my mind to think much more like He would want me to think. Let God guide you to information, insights, correction, and changes that you need to make. I find it is absolutely delightful to have God speak out of the Scriptures in answer to my questions.
Let's try it!
Here's a practical exercise you can try tonight:
Think of your number one problem or issue.
Then look up the chapter of Proverbs for that day. If it is the 15th of the month, then look at the 15th chapter of Proverbs.
Read the 15th chapter of Proverbs slowly with your question or issue in mind. Usually a verse from that chapter will stand out. Note that verse.
Say the verse out loud a number of times until you can say it without looking at it.
Now you are ready to repeat it until you fall asleep. As you repeat it, emphasize the different words and with different speeds. God will begin to show you what you need to know about that verse and about your situation.
Sometimes I do not have the answer until the morning when I wake up, but I am always amazed at how God has led me to a particular verse that was just what I needed. Enjoy the whispers of God and a dialogue with Him over His amazing word.
In His service, Gil Stieglitz
Mission Possible: Winning the Battle Over Temptation
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