As Jesus began to prepare his disciples for his physical departure from them and conclude his personal physical daily ministry with them by personally returning to heaven to be with the Father, he indicated to them that he would send them the Helper or the Spirit of truth who would continue his work of condemning the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment and who would guide them into all the truth and he will take what is mine and declare it to them (See John 16:5-15). In making this announcement, Jesus was implying that they would have to use their personal sense of internal meditation rather than most of their physical senses of perception and communication to continue to experience the Lord’s instructive wisdom and transforming power and model to enable them to live in a faithful relationship with Him and the Father. And this Helper would not be completely present with them as a divinely written document or set of documents or as another divinely anointed servant or series of servants of the Father whom they should follow and from whom they should learn how to live by faith in a personal relationship with the Father. Some divinely inspired documents regarding the Father’s nature and will and instructions for those who would seek to live in a personal relationship with him have been composed and saved as well as human prophets and teachers have been called and anointed by the Spirit to express His truth, but the blessings of these media and communicators can now only be perceived through one’s personal sense of internal meditation.
The basic mental process of meditation
In Paul’s very complete teachings regarding the deadly effects of sin in a person’s life and the limited benefits of the laws of Moses in his letter to the Romans, he makes it very clear that it is the law of the Spirit of life that sets a person free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death, and it is the chosen focus of a person’s mind that implements the Spirit’s benefits as he indicates, “For those who live according to flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”. (See Romans 5:1-8:6, particularly 8:5-6). And in his letter to the Philippians he specifically cites the thoughts of a person’s mind that will produce the peace of God in his teaching that “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. (Phil 4:7-8) It is God’s peace and the focus of a person’s thoughts in meditation on these qualities of God’s Spirit that will guard the hearts and minds of those who live in Christ from the deadly sins of the flesh (vs. 7). In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he identifies the fruit of God’s Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). This process of meditation operates in accord with the basic principle that it is the persistent thoughts of a person’s mental processes that determines his or her choices and actions that produce attitudes of character and habits of living that will either be deadly or ones of life and peace depending on their basic quality.
The role of a person’s heart in meditation
Every person has been able in his or her processes of growth to develop an agent that will generate passions and emotions that will tend to focus and to drive his or her personal choices throughout his or her life. This agent is cited as one’s “heart” in biblical documents and its nature and role is defined and taught by various prophets and the teachers of divine morality and service throughout history. One of these prophets, Jeremiah, had some very important words of instruction to a very particular group of his people regarding this matter. These people were the exiles who had been removed from their homes in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon who took them to Babylon. Jeremiah encouraged them to continue as they normally would in their daily lives, even to seek the welfare of Babylon where they were being held in exile and to not forget God’s promise to bring them back to their homes in Jerusalem. These are the words of God’s promise: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place (Jerusalem). For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart“. (Jeremiah 29:10-13) This admonition to seek God with all of one’s heart, with all of one’s passions and emotions is cited by Jesus in his summary of God’s great commandment in the Law (The writings of Moses in the Old Testament) as he answered the question of a lawyer regarding this matter with these words: “You shall love your God with all your heart…” (Matthew 22:36-37). So those who seek God with the passions and loving emotions of all of their hearts should be able to find God and receive the blessings that he has promised to them through his Spirit.
By focusing the thoughts of your mind in daily meditation on the things of the Spirit as they are driven by the passions and emotions of your heart in your love for God, you will be enabled to regularly experience the fruits of the Spirit that are good forever. For some additional insights into this process see my statement on “living by the Spirit” on this website.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV Study Bible English Standard Version (ESV®), copyright © 2008 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.