Last week our lesson focused on the bondage that is most detrimental to mankind: sin. It reminds once again that sin is a plight that all humanity faces (Romans 3:23) with severe consequences if not confronted (Romans 6:23). As I took some time to determine what direction this week’s lesson would take, it seemed reasonable to consider our theme concerning meditation in light of the subject of sin. So, I begin with a question that I asked myself that took me off-guard. I will explain why it did in a moment, but here is the enigma. When was the last time I repented? Not the passing “I’m sorry” or the occasional “Oops” that surface when we know what we did, was wrong. But more like the tax collector in Luke 18 who struggled to look up to heaven, beating his breast saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). For me, and maybe you can relate, my attitude about sin has changed over the years. How can mediation help us in this area?
To grasp this article’s intent, we need to look back for a moment and consider the meaning of meditation again. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines meditate as (1) to reflect upon; study; ponder (2) to plan or intend – to think deeply and continuously; reflect; muse. The Hebrew word translated “meditates” in Psalm 1:2, means to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse. Muse simple means to contemplate something. In Haggai 1:5, we read something that the prophet spoke to God’s people from the Lord, “Consider your ways!” My goodness, what a thought-provoking thing. If you were to look at the text surrounding these words, you would find the Lord challenging His people to consider their lives related to Him genuinely. It’s as though He is asking, “Where am I in all that you do?” Meditation is one of the tools that can help facilitate repentance, for it begins when one considers his or her ways. It stirs the inner man to examine himself in light of God’s intent for us, creating moments of “godly sorrow” that “produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted” (2nd Corinthians 7:10). It steers us away from the “sorrow of the world” that seeks not to change and only leads to death. I know all too well the challenge behind this idea to “consider your ways.” The fact remains, there can be no authentic change without repentance.
Although similar, I want to consider another benefit that meditation can help facilitate in our lives, and that is our resolve to fight against sin. The other day, I read of how someone saw a vice in their lives, that it “controlled them.” Remember what we learned last week; we are all slaves to something (Romans 6:16). Consider 2nd Corinthians 7:10 in the NCV, “The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives.” Godly sorrow shines a light on sin, exposing it for what it is, an offense to God’s holiness. A changed heart (mind) results over time into a changed life…right? Peter writes, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1st Peter 1:13). Purposed in our transformation and confident in Christ’s redemptive work, we seek to “Be holy, for I am holy” (1st Peter 1:16). When we meditate on His holiness and pursue that holiness, we become changed within. The repulsiveness of sin becomes ever more apparent, and our desire to fight against grows ever more powerful.
I am so thankful for God’s grace and His ever-present patience towards humankind…towards me. May the deepening of that grace awareness develop within me a heart that is willing to consider my ways and repent when needed. May that same awareness develop within me a desire to fight against those sinful tendencies. I understand perfection is not attainable here, and I am overwhelmed by God’s grace that cleanses me of wicked behavior. Still, may that grace never be an excuse to not fight against sin. May the act of meditation help me in this endeavor. Be at peace knowing you are loved by the only true God that dealt with our sin problem through Christ and equips us to in Christ to fight against it. Thank you, Lord.