Often times I meet with students who express a certain something lacking in their walk with Jesus. They are still tending to the various means of grace God has given them in corporate worship, the Scriptures, and prayer. They aren’t inwardly focused, but using their time though out the week to serve in the Name of Christ. They aren’t hiding away some unrepentant sin. But nonetheless, something still lacks.
So what’s the deal? More often than not, though not every time, in cases like these, I have found that the problem is that students aren’t thinking about what they actually believe. They are sprinting through the rose garden of God’s Word. They’re reading a lot, but remembering little. They are doing a lot of Christian activity without taking time to think deeply and rejoice in the riches they have in Christ. With these type of students, a major problem isn’t in what they are taking in, but how they are taking it in.
Allow the puritans to guide us from here. Iain Murray writes:
Supposing we had lived in Puritan times and we went to our pastor with the regret that, while we believed in God’s love, it did not move us very much. If the pastor had reason to think that the complaint was being expressed by a genuine Christian it is certain that one of the first questions we would face is this,
“How regularly are you spending time meditating on what you say you believe?”
Their judgment was that hearing sermons, even reading the Bible, will do little good if that is where we stop. “Meditation,” says Brooks, “is the food of your souls, it is the very stomach and natural heat whereby spiritual truths are digested. A man shall as soon live without his heart, as he shall be able to get good by what he reads without meditation…They usually thrive best who meditate most. Meditation is a soul fattening duty; it is a grace-strengthening duty; it is a duty-crowning duty” (The Broken Hearted Evangelist, p. 55).
God has not skimped on His blessings for us. We own riches unsearchable (Eph. 1:3). All is ours in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:21-23). Our problem isn’t that we are poor, but that we never look at our bank account to remember how rich we are. It’s not that we are without food, but we aren’t taking time to eat and taste the food we have been lovingly given. Often times, we neglect this most wonderful, “Soul fattening duty.”
For some helpful thoughts about what Biblical meditation is, check out this short piece from Donald Whitney. Also, I recommend checking out Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.