- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:18
"For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips"
The principle of saturating your mind with wise words and righteous actions is called biblical meditation. We do not come equipped with an internal program of instincts to know what we should do in each situation as the animals do. We have moral freedom to choose. It is this moral freedom that allows us to love and to determine the course of our lives. But this moral freedom has been corrupted by the principle of sin that is in every person since Adam and Eve. They, through their choice, plunged mankind into a natural tendency to do the selfish, sinful thing.
The way to counteract that sinful tendency after one repents and seeks forgiveness in Christ Jesus is to saturate one's mind with biblical actions and biblically-wise words. We will automatically begin to live out the constantly repeating thoughts that occupy our mind. If we are constantly thinking about ourselves and our desires, then we will move unconsciously to fulfill those thoughts. If we constantly fill our mind with images, stories, and ideas from wicked movies, television shows, and books, then we will begin moving to live out those thoughts. If we, however, take the time every day to fill our mind with scriptural commands and scriptural ideas, then we will renew our minds and automatically react in those scriptural ways. The battle for how we act is rooted in what we think about.
Solomon is talking about this insight in this proverb. Whatever wise directions are not particularly natural for you should be meditated upon so that those actions become second nature to you. If you have a problem with anger, then fill your mind with biblical commands for meekness, flexibility, and kindness. If you have a problem with lust, then fill your mind with biblical ideas of purity, the joys of married love, following the Holy Spirit's prompting immediately. If you have a problem with pride, then fill your mind with biblical injunctions to humility, your actual spiritual gifts, and gratefulness for others’ gifts and abilities.
In order for wise words to be ready on your lips, they must fill your mind. Too many times in our day we want to read something once and move on to some new idea or story. Biblically we must chew through the biblical story and direction repeatedly; practicing living out the concept in various parts of our life; mentally seeing ourselves living out God's direction in the various parts of our life. It is not enough to be on a constant quest for a new story. We must practice living out the old directions.
The great athletes do the basics over and over again so that they are skilled. They do not attempt a new action until they have truly mastered the skills leading up to that skill. So the Christian who is going to really live the Christian life needs to practice loving God and people in all different kinds of settings and be skilled with these actions.
Solomon says that it will be pleasant if you learn how to look for the triple-win and it will – you will please God, encourage others, and meet your own needs. It may take a little while longer than being selfish, but it lasts longer and it has no sorrow mixed with it.
Meditate on the words of Scripture because we do not come equipped with what we should do automatically.
"Let the words of the wise... be ready on your lips."
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