My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. —Proverbs 4:20-22
In these verses, the writer used the words, attend to my words, which is another way of exhorting us to meditate. I love the fact that God not only frequently tells us to meditate—to ponder seriously—His Word, but He frequently promises results. It’s as if God says, “Okay, Joyce, if you meditate, here’s what I’m going to do for you.” In this passage, the promise is life and health. Isn’t that amazing? It’s even a promise that when you contemplate and brood over the Bible, it will affect your physical body.
We’ve known for a long time that when we fill our minds with healthy, positive thoughts, it affects our body and improves our health. This is just another way of repeating this truth. Or take the opposite viewpoint: Suppose we fill our minds with negative thoughts and remind ourselves how frail we are or how sick we were the day before. We soon become so filled with self-pity and self-defeating thoughts that we get even sicker.
In the previous pages, I’ve already mentioned the idea of prosperity (see Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8). I believe that by “prosperity,” God means that we’ll be enriched and prosper in every part of our lives. It’s not a promise of more material wealth, but an assurance of being able to enjoy all the wonderful blessings we have.
Recently when I meditated on several passages in the Bible, I realized God was showing me that the Word has hidden treasures in it—powerful, life-giving secrets—which God wants to reveal to us. They are there for those who muse, ponder, and contemplate the Word of God.
What we often forget is that God wants our fellowship, our company, and our time with Him. If we want a deep relationship with our heavenly Father, we have to make quality time for God. I recently heard someone say, “Quality time comes out of quantity times.” In other words, it’s only as we spend time with God on a regular, daily basis that we have those special, life-changing moments. We can’t program them to happen, but if we’re there on a daily basis, God will cause some of those times to be quality times of special blessing.
D. L. Moody once said that the Bible would keep us from sin, or sin would keep us from the Bible. That’s the principle here. As we concentrate on God’s Word and allow it to fill our thoughts, we will push away all desire to sin or to displease God in any way. We become more deeply rooted in Him. Again, think of it in the negative. When our mind remains focused on our problems all the time, we become consumed with them. If we meditate on what’s wrong with others, we see even more flaws and faults. But when we concentrate on God’s Word, light comes into our souls.
I want to go back one more time to that powerful statement in Philippians 4:8. No matter which translation or paraphrase we read it in, the message is powerful and exactly what we need to do to condition our minds for victory.
Here’s Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
Dear Father in heaven, teach me the blessings of pondering Your Word, of filling my heart and mind with Your spiritual manna. May I grow into maturity and become more and more like Your Son, Jesus. It’s in His name that I pray. Amen.