I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year’s. I’m having a hard time writing 2020 – just doesn’t seem like it should be 2020!
I am so excited to jump into our study of spiritual disciplines this year. I hope you’ve had a chance to get a copy of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. I’ve had several people tell me how much they have been impacted already. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do within us this year.
Today’s verse is Joshua 1:8. Moses had just died, and God is giving instructions to Joshua who will take over as leader of the people. God tells Joshua multiple times in this chapter to be strong and courageous because God was with him. Then in verse 8 He says this: 8 “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.” God was making a very clear connection between meditating on God’s word and obeying it. You have to know what God expects before you can obey and the only way you can truly know is by not just reading His word but ruminating on it.
For the month of January, we are looking at the habit of meditation. In Celebration of Discipline Foster says that in the first century and earlier, it was part of the culture to practice such things as fasting, prayer, mediation, etc. They didn’t need instruction on how to do it, these were well known practices. For us, sadly, that isn’t the case. Rick Warren says, “If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate” (see https://pastorrick.com/fill-your-mind-with-gods-word-not-worry/ ). I don’t know about you, but I definitely know how to worry and run the same thought or scenario over and over and over in my mind. That’s what meditating on God’s Word is like – taking a verse or passage and reading it and thinking about it over and over.
From the verse that we read today, ask yourself, “What would it look like for me to incorporate God’s Word into my daily life?” “How can I be more aware of God’s Word and presence throughout my day?” The ultimate goal of these habits we are trying to develop is a close relationship with God, the kind of closeness that brings power into our lives. As Foster says, “We have only one thing to do, namely, to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God, ‘the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change’ (James 1:17).”
Executive Director of Education and Outreach