By Steven Shaw
Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Spending time meditating on the Word of God helps us to absorb the truths of God so they become intrinsic in our daily lives. We can read, we can pray, we can worship, but when we take time to meditate on passages or pray through the psalms and various scriptures we will grow in love and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). And worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24), not just one or the other.
I wanted to share a basic example of how we can do this. The Lord’s Prayer is well known and often quoted and prayed but how often do we reflect on what Jesus is actually saying? Have you ever taken the time to reflect on the depth of the words of The Lord’s Prayer? Take a moment and read this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6:9-15).
Let’s break this down:
Our Father is how Jesus referenced the reality that we are saved into God’s family, which includes His other children (other believers, those whom He’s chosen). He is our Father and our God who has brought us into Himself and through Christ, we can now call him “Abba Father”. This is an intimate address that shows the relationship between the believer and God. Paul says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). And, “our” because we are not just saved out of the world, saved from our sin and the enemies, but into God’s family. We are not alone in this.
God is transcendent, yet He is approachable. He is the God on high but He is also the God in us. He is our God in heaven; He is omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign. He answers to no one and remains true to His character, which is holy and perfect. This perfect place called heaven is going to be the future home of all who believe and trust in Him.
Holy is Your name:
Because God is holy, His name is also holy. The scriptures contain many names for God that all describe certain attributes of His nature and character. These names are powerful because God is holy. When we acknowledge God’s name as holy we can pray in His name and His power will be present in our prayers.
Your Kingdom come:
Jesus referenced that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15) and Paul referred to the Kingdom of God as righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). When we acknowledge that the Kingdom has come and ask Christ to rule in their hearts, minds, and souls we are living a “Kingdom-minded life”. We also know that there is more to come when the Kingdom is fully enacted, which will happen in the future. This spiritual reality is the “here and not yet” factor. We live in the tension of the “here and not yet” as we fix our eyes on Christ and look forward to the day when our conquering King returns to set up His Kingdom for all eternity (Rev. 21).
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven:
Desiring God’s will is something we need to do every day. Regardless of what our plans might be, our prayers should reflect our heartfelt cry for God’s will above our own will. Because God is good, then His plans and will for our lives is also good. When we pray His will we are submitting our will to His will. Plus we pray to transform our will to match His.
Give us this day our daily bread:
We pray for our basic needs each day because God is gracious to provide for us. We go to God daily for those needs and trust that God will provide. Trusting God for our daily bread keeps us relationally positioned with God so that we remain with our eyes on Him as we walk each day with activated faith and trust knowing that we absolutely need His provision in our lives. And ultimately we are growing in our satisfaction in Christ alone and nothing else.
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors:
We see God’s grace in our lives because He has offered us forgiveness, which has been lavished upon us through Christ. Our response is grace and forgiveness towards others in hopes that we may reflect God’s mercy and grace prompting others to come to God. If a situation comes along where we need to forgive believers (our brothers and sisters in Christ) we are also in God’s will because we love one another in the way that God does.
and lead us not into temptation:
We ask to be kept clear of temptations this day and even when we face trials and temptations we can ask for strength from God to have the victory of them. Jesus was tempted and He used the Word of God to overcome those temptations. We too, have access to God’s Word to help us overcome so that we are not led into temptation.
but deliver us from evil:
Through Christ, we have ultimate victory over evil. However, we live in a broken world where evil is still active. We need God to deliver us from our weaknesses, our propensity to sin, other people’s sin, harm and anything else that seeks to destroy us. Paul spoke about the spiritual battle that we are in (Eph. 6:12), and we can certainly see that this battle rages on. Through Christ we are overcomers and God does intervene and will protect His children from evil.
As you can see meditating on each line of the Lord’s Prayer gives it more depth and allows for us to slow down and reflect on how God’s truth applies to our daily lives. Practicing this kind of meditation on God’s Word will transform your life and will prepare your heart to serve God and to serve other people each day. Having the mind of Christ means knowing His Word and then walking in that truth! So enjoy the scriptures in this way and practice meditating on God’s Word day and night.
Romans 8:1-11 (ESV)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
We cannot live according to the Spirit without knowing and living through the power of God’s Word. And we will not experience that power apart from the knowledge that dwells within it. Open your Bible, read God’s word, pray for understanding and let your heart be transformed by beholding a little more of God’s glory each time you do.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Contributing editor credit: Lisa M Johnston, Th.M. and Pastor/sozofreedom.com