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There are two parts to Jesus Meditation. We see them both in Psalm 16.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Ps. 19:14, NIV
This is a great Psalm. Many have memorized it. It begins with admiring and mediating on God’s creation, moves to appreciating the wonder and value of God’s Word, then asks for God protection against both sins of ignorance and rebellion. It ends with the above verse. It is David’s [and it should be ours, too] heart desire to be pleasing to our God. To achieve this goal he focuses on two vital things, which in the Church Age involve Jesus mediation: the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart.
The words that come out of our mouths are extremely important. I am not thinking of the “potty language” or profanity which comes out of the mouths of some Christians. It should be obvious that these are not pleasing to God and an area to be worked on for those who struggle with it.
The Word of God is always life [John 6:33]. Our words may be words of life or words of death. We fail to realize how powerful words are. With our words we will build lives [including our own] or we tear lives apart. The closer our relationship is with someone, the greater the potential for good or evil. Although, I am sure we have all experienced the words of a stranger that have encouraged us or devastated us for days or weeks.
David’s desire was that the words of his mouth would be pleasing in the sight of God. What a challenge this is! James tells us how destructive and hard to control the tongue is. The person who is able to control it is perfect [mature][James 3:2]. In Psalm 141, David asked for God to set a guard over his mouth. It is so easy to let words flow without thinking or in anger. It may seem like an almost automatic response, yet we know, for the Christian, sin is a choice.
This is an area that most of us, including me, need to work on. Our goal, prayer and heart’s desire when we wake up each morning should be, “Lord, may the words of my mouth this day be pleasing in Your sight.” If we fail, then we should immediately stop and apologize to those affected by our words as well as asking Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus does forgive us, and we continue on, but not in condemnation. The very act of sincerely doing this will cause us to be more careful with our words.
Jesus meditation is more difficult and “core” than the words of my mouth. Jesus said that it is what is in the heart that defiles us [Matt. 15:18] and that the mouth is only speaking what is in the heart [Luke 6:45]. It is a scary thought to realize that the things coming out of our mouth [especially in times when we are not exercising control and restraint] reveal what is hidden in the corners of our hearts. If we would listen to ourselves talking with that in mind, we would learn a lot about ourselves.
It is so easy to trip up in the meditations of our heart. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic it is easy to begin meditating on how rude they are, how inconsiderate they are, how you would like to cut them off to show them what it feels like, etc. And before you know it, the rest of your trip has been spent in evil meditation. Or what about when a co-worker or customer says something that upsets us. Do we spend hours meditating on how foolish or inconsiderate they are? Do we nurse some self-pity or plot some revenge - although we would probably never carry it out. Where is our meditation? Is it Jesus meditation or evil meditation? What about being passed over for a promotion? What about harsh words from a spouse or loved one? What about rejection by a friend? Sure all these, and more, hurt and need to be dealt with. I am not suggesting that we ignore it, but do we spend our time in self-pity, nursing bitterness, or role-playing it over and over again with ourselves as either the hero or the victim? Where is our meditation and is it pleasing to Jesus? Jesus meditation focuses on things which are good and pleasing to God:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:4-8, NIV
This is true Jesus Meditation.
I know it is easy to talk about, but hard to practice! When we catch ourselves falling into meditations or in meditations that we know are not pleasing to Jesus, what do we do? No matter how much “pleasure” we are getting out of our evil meditations, we stop ourselves. We ask Jesus to forgive us. Then we change what we are meditating upon. We begin thinking about all the things we are thankful for - Jesus has done so much for us. We pick a Scripture we have memorized and begin thinking about it, its meaning and application to our lives. We enter into praise and worship. Perhaps we even say or do something nice to the person who has offended us. Or perhaps we start thinking about a goal or a pleasant event we are anticipating in the future. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No, not for the Christian who wants his or her meditation to be pleasing to Jesus.
We may catch ourselves falling back into the same bad meditation, but each time we deliberately replace it with Godly meditation. The benefits of Christian meditation are peace, joy, increased relationship with Jesus and much more.