I am a people watcher. What a royal hoot to sit and just observe those around us. The Mall is my favorite, so many folks going about their business. They carry bags, purses, pushing strollers, some are sitting on benches watching … ME! Have you ever observed someone walking pass you, and talking and there is no apparent person with them, they just talk. Our first response is, “Um… their dipstick isn’t exactly touching the oil.” We shrug it off as strange and weird.
Talking to oneself is extremely biblical. Well, I MUST add within the correct context mind you. The Psalmist expresses in Psalm 119:15-16 “I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word.”
In the Hebrew, mediation means, ‘to rehearse in ones mind, and to ponder’. Yet it is more, it literally means to mutter, to converse with oneself. Those of ancient Israel, would be found working in the fields, or a top a hill watching their herd all the while they were muttering to themselves. This was a way of life. They would recite aloud to themselves the ways of God and His word. Reinforcing and strengthening his understanding by meditating on verses over and over. Speaking God’s word reinforces it in our heart.
Rick Warren says this about mediation in his book, The Purpose Driven Life: “Mediation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over again… if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.” He continues with “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on scripture.” (page 190)
There was and still is a practice done by monks called “Lectio Divina”, which is Latin for ‘divine reading’. In its purest form, it is slow methodical reading of scripture. Cultivating the ability to listen, deeply hear with ears of our heart what God is saying. THIS is a lost art in my estimation.
Many of us upon hearing the word meditation, we immediately think of the Eastern forms and religions that practice, the emptying of the mind, with the goal of tapping into ones energy to increase personal development, while sitting in an extremely uncomforatble position (um.. gag). The Christian on the other hand, is NOT emptying the mind, but FIILING it. We use scripture to purse the knowledge of God, His wisdom and His holiness.
When we meditate on scripture we are taking the time and effort after we read something to think about what we have read. Remember the Word of God is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) and “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) – we NEED to participate and engage in it.
What we are doing is taking God’s word and ingesting it and digesting it, allowing it to become a part of us. A really poor analogy is that of a cow chewing his cud. Throughout the day he works to gather, bite and chew the grass, then later as he relaxes he begins to re-chew the grass. He brings it up from his gut. I believe God wants us to have His word in our gut! Nothing like a ‘Gut Christian’! Ever known someone who when they speak you can tell God’s word is so deep within them, their gut is FULL of God.
Mediation also conveys the idea of to sigh, or moan and groan. There are times that to bring up what is in our gut causes us to sigh. So deep that only God can hear it.
Our society and our schedules give very little time to think or reflect. Let alone talk it out loud. We are conditioned by our culture to NOT think, (per say) resulting in the in-ability to reason effectively. One of the biggest contributors to this is TV and movies. Did you know the average scene is 3 seconds! We are conditioned to think and jump from one thing to another so quickly that in a sense we have to be stimulated and entertained to pay attention. Sadly we take this into our relationship with Jesus and His word.
Somethings do NOT come in 3 seconds. Somethings take time. Time to ponder, muse and mutter over. This week, as we sit before God’s word, read it methodically as the monks do (no cloak required) taking the time to THINK and SPEAK it. May the Holy Spirit rub it in our heart, effectively causing it to become a part of us, deep down in our gut!
So, YES… talk to yourself… keep on muttering!
In Him, DeDe (Psalm 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD…”)
* Devotion is an excerpt from my class Personal Bible Study