Benefits of Meditating on Scripture

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Hi, welcome we are so glad that you
joined us today for our first video in this three-part series of meeting God in
Scripture. I’m here with my friend Jan Johnson who’s the author of the new
newly released book. Jan just got in the mail today. Hold it up, Jan. Meeting God in
Scripture by InterVarsity Press: a Hands-on Guide to Lectio Divina. And today we
are going to be talking about what are the benefits of meditating on Scripture.
So that’s what this three-part series of videos and we’ll also be hosting an
online workshop that we’ll be telling you about at the end of this video so
you want to stay tuned to hear about that. But today we want to start with
what are the actual benefits of meditating on Scripture and we have
three of those to present to you and you also want to know that there’s a
download that you can that’s on this page that you’ll want to click on to
download and you can read through that on your own. And we’ll include a bonus
one in there for you so let me just start by saying as we go through this
kind of a broad general statement is that meditating on Scripture it helps us
realign our thinking and Jan you sent me this great quote from Evelyn Underhill
that I want to read we mostly spend our lives conjugating
verbs to want to have to do craving clutching and fussing we are kept in
perpetual unrest and I think that is a great summary statement of how a lot of
us live our lives in today’s fast-paced culture that our lives are cluttered and
we’re clutching and craving it for things and what scripture meditation
does is it helps undo a lot of those ways of thinking and realigns our minds
to the goodness of word and what he desires and designed
our lives for so we’re excited to share kind of shift in mime in thinking as
Paul says of renewing of our minds is what scripture meditation helps us do so
we’re excited to share with you some of the benefits so Jan you want to tell us
what is the first benefit and by the way Jan did this great thing in her book of
setting out all of the places in the Psalms that use the word meditate and so
the ones that we’re gonna be touching on today are drawn from the Psalms and
where the psalmist implores us or encourages us to meditate on Scripture
so Jan won’t you tell us what is the first benefit of meditating on scripture
in light of that idea that we live in perpetual unrest what I find is that
meditating scripture slowing down in our process of being in the word gives us a
sense of strength a sense of stability a sense of steadiness and you know some of
the chaos that our life is family and friendship and it’s kind of good chaos
but even in the middle of that we need more of a steadiness a strength and a
stability and so what I have found is that meditation roots us and grounds us
in the good God in the passage that you’re going to read in a minute
illustrates that so well and and we become so peacefully rooted in it that
when we’re just not tempted to do all the crazy things that people around us
are doing when they you know grab the credit to criticize people we’re just
more grounded so I found that to be true in this in this passage from Psalm 1
yeah this is one of my all-time favorite Psalms and I
remember when this became important in my life of actually memorizing this so
that I could meditate on it so let me read this this is from Psalm one the
first three verses happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path that sinners tread or sit in the seat of scoffers but their
delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law they meditate day and night they
are like trees planted by streams of water which yield their fruit in its
season and their leaves do not wither in all they do they prosper such a great
image there of that tree rooted by those streams and prospering so Jim what do
you as you think through that Psalm what stands out to you as the the benefit of
meditating day and night on God’s Word well that picture of the tree planted by
the water that’s prospering and flourishing is
such a pleasant one of work movement and leaving all the crabbiness the
criticalness behind and i thought about the stability that we’re given in
meditation and that this may sound kind of weird but sometimes when I used to be
in the word before I knew how to meditate on Scripture
I think I just used my time in the word to beat myself up about how I just could
never do anything and in fact I think that people scull themselves that oh I
should be in the word more and I think they aren’t because when they are such a
downer they they look at love is patient well I’m not in fact that’s one of the
first or second passages in in my new book about how to really meditate on
that instead of being ourselves overhead but meditation involves this wonderful
conversation with God so when you move when you finish and
when you’re done you don’t move away with the idea of oh man I’m just never
gonna be that I feel so bad what’s wrong with me see I’m not sure I’ll remember
to read the Bible tomorrow but you move away with much more like the tree
planted by the water because meditation is essentially a conversation between
you and God and there’s interaction and there isn’t so much space for the enemy
to get in there and to beat you up you can you just walk away
focusing on the goodness of God rather than all of your inadequacies and that’s
why the tree planted by the water is flourishing is because it’s connected to
the water instead of you know that poor tree well I’m just trying to grow it
really doesn’t work so I just find meditation to be because it’s
interacting with God it’s much more stable and steady and you look forward
to it I want to do this again tomorrow yeah I
have a friend in college as a side note who had a great solution to the guilt of
reading his Bible he just named his pillow the word and or it actually his
bed and he said oh yeah I just couldn’t get out at the word this morning it was
such you know it was so great I had such a great time in the word but I think
that speaks to you know the fact that we find delight in sleeping right everyone
wants sleep you know it’s such a delight to wake up refreshed and I think that’s
what you’re saying is we change our view of the word based on our experience of
it we’re moving away from this list of rules or you know this guilt feeling to
an area of delight of oh that’s such a joy to engage God in His Word because I
get refreshed and I get fulfillment rather than walking away and feeling
like I was you know drudgery or okay check
that one off my list hey so turns it into something
life-giving rather than this awful tedious experience or whatever the guilt
shame feelings are so that’s wonderful um well should anything else that you
have to add to that I think that is a great amazing starting point for a lot
of people to realize this is a supposed to be a delightful experience of drawing
us into God’s presence I think that’s very helpful thank you dear yeah well
the second one is a little bit on a different note I think also very
applicable to our lives because we’re all going to face this and that is
meditation helps train our minds to respond to misery and despair
differently than what we typically would we all inevitably will face some sort of
misery or despair in our lives and meditate on Scripture gives us a
different vantage point changes our perspective on things and the psalm that
you selected for this is Psalm 143 so again what you read that one for us and
then I’ll comment on some thoughts on that one starting in verse five I remember the
days of all and I think about all your deeds
I meditate on the work of your hands let me hear your steadfast love in the
morning for in you I put my trust teach me the way I should go for to you I lift
up my soul in such a beautiful picture of putting our trust and lifting up our
soul even in those times of distress and you know I know that I’ve experienced
this several times in the past few years in my own personal experience of
going through finding I had cancer and a business partnership that broke up and
there were lots of sleepless nights when I was dealing with both of those
simultaneously and trying to figure out what does the future look like what you
know what does that mean for our family what does this mean financially what
does this mean for my health moving forward and yeah lots of sleepless
nights that I would say having in the mornings coming back to my wife and
saying you know I just I slept so awful and her often reminding me remember the
times that God is taking care of us in the past you know those days of old and
we’d reflect back on our history of remember the time that we were uncertain
what the next step forward was when we were moving and starting you know in a
new area and what that would look like and God took care of us all the steps of
that way and so we remember that because God is going to take care of us again
and remember I don’t remember who told me this story about Dallas Willard one
of your good friends and mentors that he would wake up even if he was didn’t
sleep well and I think someone he made the comment to someone oh I just had a
wonderful time conversing with God you know when I was awake last night and a
lot of us would be tossing and turning and yet he turned that into a time of oh
this is a delight to be awake because I get to spend it in the presence of my
Savior conversing with him and so that again that perspective shift that
meditating on Scripture brings to us in those times of distress are really
really helpful because we all are going to deal with those and we have the
choice of how we decide to view those things I I think for meditating on Scripture it
it’s just it changes your your body chemistry sort
of so that we do wake up at night and you you’re gonna start going through ok
I can’t believe he said that to me I can’t believe you know how am I gonna
pay for that or or have I figured out how am I gonna get all this done that
that kept me awake a little bit about a week ago to be able to just it’s almost
like even though you’re lying down it’s almost like your shoulders drop and and
if you’re used to meditating on a certain passage I think it really does
even change your body chemistry and I know I start to to cool down I’ll I’ll
start in maybe with Isaiah 26:3 thou will keep me and very slowly in perfect
peace whose mind is stayed on me because I trust in thee and then you know then
I’ll and I’ll start through it again and it just I just feel everything in me
change because I’ve spent enough time meditating on that first mm-hmm that it
really does change me or I’ll just start through the Lord is my light and my
salvation no shall I hear and then I’ll get ready to go to the next one I’ll go
no I just want to stay there for a minute and then you but I’m asleep yeah
but it it calms me in a very different way and I I just find and that’s why
it’s so beautiful the psalmist talks about that God can give us the peace
that we just don’t have and that just seems unreachable yeah I think one of my
favorites is also from the Psalms of the bee prayer be still and know that I am
God’s and then you take off one of the words as you go so see still and know
that I was you still uh know that I am and keep
going all the way down till just B and like you said that’s such a calming
meditation on God scripture of takes away all that striving and straining and
just focusing on being still before God really does like you said changes us
physiologically psychologically so many great benefits to that so finally another benefit and you know
when I was looking at the benefits I really didn’t want to look at this one
because I have to confess I am like such a naturally crabby person and so I was
looking at the benefits at through the Psalms and I saw more joyful and I went
I don’t even know if that’s possible sorry thinking about it and about how
meditation really has helped me to be much more joyful because um it just it
just helps me when I focus on the details of creation or just I mean how
how wisely and cleverly the world is made will be will be talking about that
again a little bit later and in another video but but I just become much more
joyful and I just even want to sing and so all of that since Psalm 104 that
talks about meditating on creation and and 16 and 17 and 33 to 34 so why don’t
you go ahead and do that the trees of the Lord are watered abundantly the
Cedars of Lebanon that he planted in them the birds build their nests the
stork has its home in the fir trees I will sing to the Lord as long as I live
I will sing praise to my god while I have been may my meditation be pleasing
to him for I rejoice in the Lord when I thought about that I thought
about how sometimes when I’m driving my mind wanders mm-hmm I start thinking
like typical crabby thoughts about all but what’s gonna happen to so-and-so and
should I have done more you know I just you know when I start thinking about all
this stuff and especially there’s a certain place on our freeway where I I
am a lot and in its its there’s just this from all these trees on either side
which in Southern California we don’t have it’s like the rest of you do and in
that one spot there are and and my eyes get captured by the trees now and it
just it gets me out of all of that crabby thinking and it gets me just
thinking about these trees and how great it is and how we’re gonna recover from
the drought and and it just distracts me in the most wonderful way and I think
that’s because God has been teaching me look around you in fact I have this
wonderful phrase that someone said to me recently she said well you just need to
keep your head where your feet are planted and he’s right because my head
goes off in all these directions yesterday tomorrow and keeping my head
and at that moment my foot is planted on the accelerator and I’m keeping my my
head right there in the middle of the freeway with the trees all around me and
and I just like start singing it’s really you know D what happened to her
and it’s it’s just so helpful to me I’m and this is part of what meditation does
for you it helps you keep your head where your feet are planted instead of
wandering all over the place with all the things that the world tells you you
really need to think about mm-hmm yeah that’s a wonderful I love that statement
or that word picture of your head being where your feet are planted I think it
speaks to being present in and I know for me I
tend to focus on the future and on the past and have a hard time staying in the
present so it’s so wonderful sorry my cat decided to come and see me it’s
because you’re so peaceful yeah exactly he wants some love I think that’s such a
wonderful place to be as we were present to those who are with us instead of
constantly thinking oh the next thing I need to get to the next meeting the next
you know whatever instead of being present to the people who aren’t here
with at the moment and I think like you said that’s such a wonderful way to
meditating on Scripture helps us gain that presence of being in the presence
of the presence as one of my favorite author says so I think all of these that
we’ve gone through today are as you look at pretty remarkable I’ve call them kind
of the remarkable benefits of meditating on Scripture because they really do
completely change your perspective completely change your mindset from the
worldly to the kingdom mindset and I think overall that’s as we were talking
and that’s an overarching theme through all these is having a kingdom mindset
that that Jesus wants us to renew our imagination our minds every part of our
mind not just the logical side but also the imaginative side and all those we’re
gonna talk a bit more about that as we progress so any final thoughts Jane as
we wrap up I look forward to being with all of you in the online workshop and
we’ll have great fun we’ll be doing a meditation exercise I’ll explain some
things and then we’ll do that and I think that I think that’ll be
great fun I I find interacting with God to be such an intriguing thing
yeah I can’t wait to do it every morning can’t wait to be there with all of you
yeah well as James said we are super excited that you’re with us was up for
do you looking at or watching the next video which is on why you wouldn’t want
to hesitate to meditate on Scripture we’ll go through some great reasons why
you’ll want to continue down this journey with us and then there’s a third
video which you’ll find out more about when you watch video number two and as
jadon said we want to invite you to the online workshop that will be hosting so
on this page there’s also a place where you can register for that and we look
forward to having you join us live where you can actually interact with us more
and we get to interact with you more as we continue this conversation
so as you depart from this video we just want to give you our blessings and pray
that you will continue to engage in meditating on Scripture and we look
forward to seeing you in video 2 you


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