I ran across a quote from an old puritan preacher (Thomas Manton). He said, “What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice?” His answer was thought provoking. He said, “For want of meditation.”
Now, no honest Christian will deny that we have unlimited access to preaching via the internet, radio and other forms of media. But I believe we have to admit that there is a breakdown between the hearing the Word of God and the practice of it in daily living. People mark their Bibles, fill their notebooks, and file away their precious quotes; but somehow the power of the Word never gets into the decisions and activities of daily life.
I believe a main reason the Word of God doesn’t move from hearing to doing is because we don’t take time to meditate on what we have learned. The truth gets into our notebooks but not into our hearts. What digestion is to the body, meditation is to the soul. If you ate food but never digested it…you would die.
I wonder if some of our Bible-study activities are not like what goes on in a fast-food restaurant. We go to the meeting; listen to the teacher or preacher; and then we rush off to something else. We do not take time to think, ponder, question, reflect, relate or apply. The sad result is a great gap between learning and living.
Whether we like it or not it takes time to be holy. Too many of us are caught up in the Christian rat race. We simply do not take time to digest the Word of God. We are proud of our attendance at church, but in reality we are not growing as believers due to our lack of ingesting the Word of God. Are we cultivating a fast-food faith? Should we be taking time in our services to “be still” and meditate on the truths we have both sung and heard?
I wonder if we may be cramming to much into our church programs and into our worship service. Are we giving people time to mediate? Do we really need ten minutes of announcements and not spend even five minutes in quite contemplation of what we have heard?
There is a subtle danger in cramming ourselves full of Bible knowledge that never really gets into our inner person. We start equating knowledge with spirituality, and activity with ministry; and then we start living on substitutes. Knowing Bible facts is not the same as receiving Bible truths and making them a vital part of our inner life.
What would happen to our practical Christian walk if we spent a longer period in quiet meditation after the preaching? Or if we drove home from church in quiet meditation instead of listening to the car radio? Or if we spent a few minutes at home alone with the Lord instead of immediately turning on the television?
Radical? Perhaps; but the malady is so serious that we need radical measures! The blessed man in Psalm 1 took the Bible seriously and meditated on its truths day and night. “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth,” the Lord said to Joshua, “but thou shalt meditate therein day and night (for what purpose?), that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:” (Josh. 1:8)
The bridge between learning and living is meditating – praying over the Word, pondering it, applying it to our lives.