The Word of God teaches us what we should spend our time thinking about. The psalmist said that he thought about or meditated on the precepts of God. That means that he spent a lot of time pondering and thinking on the ways of God, His instructions Chapter 7 I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. PSALM 119:15 and His teachings. Psalm 1:3 says that the person who does this …shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. It is very beneficial to think about God’s Word. The more time a person spends meditating on the Word, the more he will reap from the Word. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOUT HINK! …Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. Mark 4:24 What a great Scripture! It tells us that the more time we spend thinking about the Word we read and hear, the more power and ability we will have to do it—the more revelation knowledge we will have about what we have read or heard. Basically this tells us that we will get from the Word of God what we put into it. Notice especially the promise that the amount of thought and study we devote to the Word will determine the amount of virtue and knowledge that will come back to us. Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says that in certain Scriptures of the King James Version the Greek word dunamis meaning “power” is translated “virtue.”1 According to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, another translation of dunamis is “ability.”2 Most people do not delve into the Word of God very deeply. As a result, they get confused about why they are not powerful Christians living victorious lives. The truth is that most of them really don’t put much effort of their own into the study of the Word. They may go out and hear others teach and preach the Word. They may listen to sermon tapes or read the Bible occasionally, but they are not really dedicated to making the Word a major part of their lives, including spending time thinking about it. The flesh is basically lazy, and many people want to get something for nothing (with no effort on their part); however, that really is not the way it works. I will say it again, a person will get out of the Word what he is willing to put into it. M EDITATE ON THE W ORD Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. Psalm 1:1,2 According to Webster, the word meditate means “1. To reflect on: PONDER. 2. To plan or intend in the mind…To engage in contemplation.”3 Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says that meditate means “…primarily, to care for,…to attend to, practise,…be diligent in,…to practise is the prevalent sense of the word,…to ponder, imagine,… to premeditate.”4 Proverbs 4:20 says, My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. If we put Proverbs 4:20 together with these definitions of the word “meditate,” we see that we attend to God’s Word by meditating on it, by pondering on it, by contemplating it, by rehearsing or practicing it in our thinking. The basic idea is that if we want to do what the Word of God says, we must spend time thinking about it. Remember the old saying, “Practice makes perfect”? We really do not expect to be experts at anything in life without a lot of practice, so why would we expect Christianity to be any different? M EDITATION P RODUCES S UCCESS This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Joshua 1:8 If you want to be a success and prosper in all your dealings, the Bible says you must meditate on the Word of God day and night. How much time do you spend thinking about the Word of God? If you are having problems in any area of your life, an honest answer to this question may disclose the reason why. For most of my life, I didn’t think about what I was thinking about. I simply thought whatever fell into my head. I had no revelation that Satan could inject thoughts into my mind. Much of what was in my head was either lies that Satan was telling me or just plain nonsense—things that really were not worth spending my time thinking about. The devil was controlling my life because he was controlling my thoughts. T HINK A BOUT W HAT Y OU’RE T HINKING A BOUT! Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…. Ephesians 2:3 Paul warns us here that we are not to be governed by our sensual nature or to obey the impulses of our flesh, the thoughts of our carnal mind. Although I was a Christian, I was having trouble because I had not learned to control my thoughts. I thought about things that kept my mind busy but were not productive in a positive way. I needed to change my thinking! One thing the Lord told me when He began to teach me about the battlefield of the mind became a major turning point for me. He said, “Think about what you’re thinking about.” As I began to do so, it was not long before I began to see why I was having so much trouble in my life. My mind was a mess! I was thinking all the wrong things. I went to church, and had done so for years, but I never actually thought about what I heard. It went in one ear and out the other, so to speak. I read some Scriptures in the Bible every day, but never thought about what I was reading. I was not attending to the Word. I was not giving any thought and study to what I was hearing. Therefore, no virtue or knowledge was coming back to me. M EDITATE ON THE W ORKS OF G OD We have thought of Your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of Your temple. Psalm 48:9 The psalmist David talked frequently about meditating on all the wonderful works of the Lord—the mighty acts of God. He said that he thought on the name of the Lord, the mercy of God and many other such things. When he was feeling depressed, he wrote in Psalm 143:4,5: Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed and faints within me [wrapped in gloom]; my heart within my bosom grows numb. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I ponder the work of Your hands. We see from this passage that David’s response to his feelings of depression and gloom was not to meditate on the problem. Instead, he literally came against the problem by choosing to remember the good times of past days—pondering the doings of God and the works of His hands. In other words, he thought on something good, and it helped him overcome depression. Never forget this: your mind plays an important role in your victory. I know that it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God that brings victory into our lives. But a large part of the work that needs to be done is for us to line up our thinking with God and His Word. If we refuse to do this or choose to think it is unimportant, we will never experience victory. B E T RANSFORMED BY R ENEWING Y OUR M IND Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2 In this passage the Apostle Paul is saying that if we want to see God’s good and perfect will proven out in our lives, we can—if we have our minds renewed. Renewed to what? Renewed to God’s way of thinking. By this process of new thinking we will be changed or transformed into what God intends for us to be. Jesus has made this transformation possible by His death and resurrection. It becomes a reality in our lives by this process of the renewal of the mind. Let me say at this point, to avoid any confusion, that right thinking has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is based solely on the blood of Jesus, His death on the cross and His resurrection. Many people will be in heaven because they truly accepted Jesus as their Savior, but many of these same people will never have walked in victory or enjoyed the good plan God had for their lives because they did not get their mind renewed according to His Word. For years, I was one of those people. I was born again. I was going to heaven. I went to church and followed a form of religion, but I really had no victory in my life. The reason is because I was thinking on the wrong things. THINK ON THESE THINGS For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Philippians 4:8 The Bible presents a lot of detailed instruction on what kinds of things we are to think about. I am sure that you can see from these various Scriptures that we are instructed to think on good things, things that will build us up and not tear us down. Our thoughts certainly affect our attitudes and moods. Everything the Lord tells us is for our own good. He knows what will make us happy and what will make us miserable. When a person is full of wrong thoughts he is miserable, and I have learned from personal experience that when someone is miserable, he usually ends up making others miserable also. You should take inventory on a regular basis and ask yourself, “What have I been thinking about?” Spend some time examining your thought life. Thinking about what you’re thinking about is very valuable because Satan usually deceives people into thinking that the source of their misery or trouble is something other than what it really is. He wants them to think they are unhappy due to what is going on around them (their circumstances), but the misery is actually due to what is going on inside them (their thoughts). For many years I really believed that I was unhappy because of things others were doing or not doing. I blamed my misery on my husband and my children. If they would be different, if they would be more attentive to my needs, if they would help around the house more, then, I thought, I would be happy. It was one thing and then another for years. I finally faced the truth, which was that none of these things had to make me unhappy if I chose to have the right attitude. My thoughts were what was making me miserable. Let me say it one final time: Think about what you are thinking about. You may locate some of your problems and be on your way to freedom very quickly.