I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15
Charles Spurgeon, in his devotional book Morning by Morning asks, “Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life?” A great question to ponder today.
We have all, most likely, found times in our lives when we were doing all the Christian disciplines, yet growing in Christ seemed to evade us. We felt stagnant maybe, or perhaps legalistic. We read the word faithfully, but it fell on our hearts with a cold distant feeling. We prayed, yet without fervency of spirit we had known before. We attended services with believers, but went away unchanged. We probably asked why, and evaluated our lives for any sin and prayed to be delivered from that drought of the soul.
Spurgeon makes a very interesting observation as to why this may be that we can “go through the motions” yet not advance in our Christian walk. It all has to do with digestion.
In the physical world, digestion is crucial. Food can go in the mouth, but if an illness causes the body not to be able to digest the food the body goes without nourishment. I saw this happen with an elderly family member whose body was declining. Her chart was first labeled her with “failure to thrive.” Food was no longer enticing to her. And eventually, because her body was no longer processing the food it received, her system began slowly failing.
In the spiritual world just as in the physical, digestion occurs when the nourishment taken in is processed and broken down in order to benefit the health of the person. Our stomach digests food slowly over hours. Similarly, our spiritual food cannot be used effectually if it is gobbled down in a quick ten minute reading of scripture before work or listening to a 30 minute podcast from our favorite Bible teacher on the commute home. Those are simply ways to take the spiritual food into the mouth. This food needs to be mentally digested too. Do we ever go on to chew up this food and begin to digest it in a way that it nourishes our soul?
It takes active meditating on the things of God to get the real soul-nourishment from them. Time needs to be spent dwelling on it to digest it. Don’t just read the Word of God, meditate on it. Don’t just listen to the podcast, contemplate its impact on your life. Spend time as my granddad used to say “ruminating on it” to get its full flavor and meaning and benefit.
We are a microwave society and want to have everything now. But the deeper truths of scripture that will grow us more and more into the image of Christ come only through a deep contemplation and consideration of the meaning of scripture, in order to apply it to our lives. Find a quiet place away from the bustle – which isn’t quite as hard during this coronavirus pandemic – and focus on God’s Word. Meditate on it. Pray over it. Journal what God is speaking into your heart. Allow His Word to do its job of feeding you and growing you into His likeness.
I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Psalm 119:99