According to scientist, fitness researcher and practitioner, and longevity expert, Dr. Peter Attia, grip strength is an important indicator of longevity. It’s also a great barometer of overall body strength and functional strength, as well. Dr. Attita goes so far as to write, “When your grip is weak, there’s a good chance everything downstream is also weak.”   
This blog series is about improving your grip on the “sword of the Spirit” which is the Word of God. Historically, Christians have believed that there are six practices that can increase our grip strength on God’s Word.
Six Ways to Get a Grip on God’s Word:
- Read it.
- Hear it.
- Meditate on it.
- Memorize it.
- Study it.
- Apply it.
In our last blog, we looked at the first two. This post will examine the third way which is to meditate on God’s Word. The writer of Psalm 119 made a very intentional decision about how he was going to approach the Word of God.
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”
—Psalm 119:16 ESV
Mention the word “meditation” and some people immediately freak out. They think of it as some new age practice of emptying your mind and opening it up to the universe. But biblical meditation isn’t about emptying your mind, at all. It’s about filling your mind with God’s Word.
Biblical meditation is focused thinking on a passage of Scripture to discover how you can apply its truth to your life.
One of the Hebrew words for meditation is the word “ha-gah”. It means “to murmur or to mutter” or “to murmur or mutter under your breath.” The prophet Isaiah used the word to describe a lion growling over his prey (Isaiah 31:4) and a dove moaning in distress (Isaiah 38:14).
Meditation is basically talking to yourself. It is a very focused conversation with yourself, where you talk to yourself about God’s Word, turning it over and over in your mind. You think about its meaning, its implications and how you can apply it to your life. You consider what it has to say to you, about you or about any situation you may be facing.
Of Cows and Cud
The process of meditation has often been compared to a cow chewing its cud. Cows have an interesting digestive system. When a cow chews its cud, it takes grass and chews the grass up, swallows it, and, at some point, regurgitates it. Then, chews it up again, swallows it, and the process continues. I’ve even read that a cow can repeat this process as many as seven times. I know. It’s gross.
The question is why would a cow do that?
Because the cow wants to get every ounce of nourishment possible from every blade of grass. Every vitamin. Every mineral.
This is a great picture of the way you and I should think about and meditate on God’s Word! We’re not talking about a McDonald’s Happy Meal. This is the Word of God. Chew on it. Swallow it. Digest it. Again and again. Savor every bite. “Growl” over it as you feast. “Moan” over it as it convicts and challenges you. Let God’s word nourish, nurture and enrich your life.
David made this mind-blowing statement in Psalm 1:1-2.
“Blessed is the one who…delights in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.”
Psalm 1:2 describes an individual who “…delight in the law of the Lord…” The word “delights” means to take pleasure in or to desire. The Amplified Classic reads, “…his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord.” The Message Translation renders the passage, “…you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.”
Why does this person respond to God’s Word in that way? Because he or she knows and understands the potential and power present in every word God has spoken.
Biblical meditation is the slow process of thinking about and chewing
on what God has said!
There’s no such thing as an “Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Bible Course” when it comes to growing a vibrant, strong, stable, fruit-producing life! The writer of Psalm 1 didn’t come to God and say, “Wow! I’ve discovered a secret. I can meditate at 700 words a minute with a 90 percent comprehension rate.”
He simply said, “I’ve committed to this practice. I meditate on — delight in and desire, chew on and talk to myself over and over about — the principles and promises I come across in your Word. It’s making a difference in me! I’m like a tree planted by a source of constant refreshment and supply. Even when things around me are fading, I’m flourishing.”
“Even when things around me are fading, I’m flourishing…”
Verse 3 describes the impact of this kind of chewing and meditation on the Word of God. David writes:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” —Psalm 1:3 NIV
What a promise!
David is saying that the person who makes meditation and chewing on God’s Word a consistent and regular practice will experience a fruitful, productive and even prosperous life!
Many people I’ve met feel that they don’t really know how to meditate on God’s Word. But I think you do.
In fact, according to Kris Vallatton, the word meditate can also mean “to imagine, think about, envision, talk to yourself and even sing the truth to yourself.”
Author John Ortberg says that research indicates that most worriers tend to have a high capacity imagination. They are often people who are very intelligent and have a load of creative potential. Unfortunately, their imagination usually runs towards the negative.
If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.
You may have never thought of it this way before, but if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Worry is nothing more than focused thinking on a problem, challenge or your personal pain. But meditation, on the other hand, is focused thinking on the promises in God’s Word. It is making a decision to focus on God’s Word instead of the overwhelm that comes from focusing on your difficulties, problems or lack.
Joshua 1:8 contains an amazing promise.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” —Joshua 1:8 NLT
Do you realize that this is the only place in the Bible where the words “prosper” and “succeed” are mentioned in the same verse? God said, “If you will meditate on my Word day and night… If you’ll put it into practice. If you will align your life with it, you will — not maybe or might — but you will prosper and succeed.”
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that mediation is some kind of a magic formula for success! But a consistent habit of biblical meditation will eventually result in the outworking of this simple principle: What you think about consistently is ultimately what you will become.
What you think about consistently is ultimately what you will become.
The more you think about God and His Word, the more your thoughts, attitudes and actions will become aligned with His Word, will, purpose, promises and design for your life!
Pastor and theologian, Joel Beeke, describes the benefits of meditation like this:
“Disciplined meditation on Scripture helps us focus on God… It involves our mind and understanding as well as our heart and affections. It works Scripture through the texture of the soul. Meditation helps prevent vain and sinful thoughts (Matt 12:35) and provides inner resources on which to draw (Ps 77:10-12), including direction for daily life (Pro 6:21-22). Meditation fights temptation (Ps 119:11, 15), provides relief in afflictions (Isa 49:15-17), benefits others (Ps 145:7), and glorifies God (Ps 49:3).”
Meditating on God’s Word is a great way to improve your grip on the sword of the Spirit.