Let the words of my mouth and
The meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, ESV).
Who of us has never blurted out something he or she regretted later? It sometimes seems we have precious little control over the things we say, and still less over the things we think. What's the answer-willpower? Self discipline? The world and its secular motivational speakers would have us believe we can accomplish anything with those two qualities.
Wise Christians know better. We know we can accomplish nothing without the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit. We know further that our means of communication with the Holy Spirit is prayer. What better prayer for someone about to commence Christian counseling or teaching than the above Psalm? It is a humble prayer, acknowledging our dependence on God. The verse will also help us to understand that meditation is a matter of the heart, not the head.
James Stuart Bell and Stan Campbell comment on the biblical concept of meditation as follows:
The Judeo-Christian viewpoint of meditation is a far cry from the Eastern picture of sitting cross-legged on the floor, humming and repeating mantras as incense burns. Meditation, for us, is essentially focusing one's full attention on what the Bible has to say. That includes making the text personal and applicable to us. And in doing so, we show that we value what we're reading. (The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible, 3rd edition, (New York: Alpha Books, Penguin Group (USA) Inc.) 2005. Page 390.)
A meditative approach to Bible-reading should be a very personal experience. We are, after all, called upon to have a personal relationship with God. And while the Bible itself is not God, it is God's word to us, a word that he very much wants us to understand.
If we think that we need the mind of a mathematician or a champion chess-player to understand God, we are mistaken. If we think that we need to be biblical scholars fluent in Greek or Hebrew, we are mistaken there also. William Hordern points out:
Jesus did not say "Blessed are the brilliant: for they shall logically prove God's existence"; he said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). In personal relations the purity of one's heart is a vital factor in knowing. That is, love, moral integrity, imagination, empathy, are needed to know a person as they are not needed to know a thing. When God's revelation comes to us, it does not come as propositions to subdue the mind; it comes as a challenge to the "heart," it appeals to the whole man. The faith to which it calls us is not the submissive believing of propositions but the commitment of the self in trust to the God who is encountered. ("The Nature of Revelation" in Readings in Christian Theology, Volume 1, edited by Millard J. Erickson (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House) 1973.Page 185.)
Knowing that God wants us to relate to him using our hearts does not necessarily make things easier. It does call for clear and honest thought about our goals and aspirations. It calls also for reflection upon and repentance of our many and various sins. Even more, it calls for the joyous realization that we can be forgiven our sins and the expression of that joy in worship with our fellow Christians. Praise God!
In faith and fellowship,