For people just beginning to walk with Jesus and looking for the tried-and-true paths for getting to feel their faith, this week’s book: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in God, will set you on a good path. For anyone who has been wrecked by guilt-inducing Bible homework, either skip this week, or use the entries from a grace-filled perspective — the Bible is more like a cask than a casket.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read James 3:13-18
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
More thoughts for meditation
In her book, Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Jennifer Rothschild describes her fear of flying after 9/11. She had many flights to take that fall, yet the atmosphere in the airports was tense and so was she. “I remember getting on my knees before God and telling him that I was fearful,” she writes. “Immediately, this verse came to my mind: ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in you’” (Psalm 56:3 – put to music)
“God knows that sometimes fear and trust share the same heartbeat. As I meditated on the verse, I suddenly realized that I am afraid describes a condition and that I will trust describes a volition.” And neither defines how God is with me. Her deeper cooperation with faith helped undo her shallower reactions of fear. She ended up finding the courage to fly in peace, in the face of her foes.
The Bible is a gift to readers and listeners who want to practice creating new pathways in their brains for truth, hope and peace. Isaiah 55:8, Colossians 3 and James 3 (today’s reading) all describe the development of our thoughts once God is revealed to us. God does not think like us, but we can learn to have the mind of Christ. Our minds are set on automatic much of the time, but grace can throw a wrench in the works, if we cooperate. We can gain wisdom “from above.”
With meditation you can focus on the wonder of God, gain a higher perspective, and tap into God’s wisdom from above. These things, then, become not only your shield in a world embroiled in a spiritual war; they also become your weapons.
Suggestions for action
This book suggests we use scripture as our basis for meditation with a simple method much like our 2PROAPT
- Ponder today’s excerpt
Read today’s reading attentively, maybe aloud. If you can, read it in its larger context. Imagine Jesus saying it to you. Focus on all the words and try to understand what the passage means.
But the wisdom from above…
Try visualizing what that wisdom looks like when it comes upon you.
is first pure…
Pure wisdom has a natural impact on impurity. How do you see that happening in you?
Is conflict in you, around you or between you and others (maybe even with Jesus) derailing your connection with the heart of God?
“Gentle” or “considerate” is usually in the eye of the beholder. But using your own gentle eye, do you think you have received this wisdom?
willing to yield…
One can’t lead if they can’t follow. One has little power if they only get it by rebelling. What do you do with the word “submit” or “yield?” Can you embrace it, knowing the reality it represents in Jesus?
full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
This clause is the doing side of the being side in the word “pure.” Wisdom is knowing how to act out the selfless love of God in Jesus in all relationships, in a troubled and needy world. Do you want that wisdom? Ask for it.
What part of the passage seemed like God gave it to you, the most? Jot it down, or jot down the directions it gave you and keep meditating on it through the day and night. Check to see if it is changing you reactions to wise actions.