The Mind of Christ in His World: Part 1 (5)
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27.4
Waiting on the Lord
We expect to discover the glory of God in His world, and to be renewed in our minds by applying ourselves to the work of creational theology. As we observe the world and its creatures and discover the associations God makes with such things in His Word, we will become eager and adept at integrating our observations into insights of theological and devotional truth. Solomon recorded many of these in the book of Proverbs, and there is no reason why we should not record our experiences with God’s glory as well. Each such integration marks progress in our thinking, as our minds become more attune to the mind of Christ, speaking in His world.
Reading the book of God’s world, in the light of His Word, contributes to a sound mind, a well-kept heart, and a strong soul. The next discipline in the work of creational theology helps to immerse us more fully in our experience of God’s glory, and to extend that experience into other areas of our lives.
The word “inquire” in our text can also be translated “meditate.” Meditation is the fourth discipline of creational theology. In meditation, we come before the Lord in silence, turning His beauty – as He has revealed it in His Word and creation – over and over in our minds, waiting on His Spirit to carry us to the next level of relationship and encounter with God’s glory (2 Cor. 3.12-18).
Building on our observations, associations, and the integrating insights we have realized about God’s revelation to us in His world, in meditation we extend our experience into larger areas of life. Waiting on the Lord in prayer and silence, we apply our experience of God’s glory to more areas of our life in His world, so that the good we have learned about God and His mind can come to light through us in our Personal Mission Fields.
The key to meditation
The key to meditation is what the psalmist repeats at the end of Psalm 27 (vv. 13, 14):
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
Wait on the Lord: It’s not something we do very well. How does this work?
In meditation we begin with our integrating insight, for example: “In that passing storm, the Lord reminded me that He is ever faithful to meet our needs, and we must never despair, but always trust and give thanks.” Now we want to extend that insight to other areas where it may have application. So we begin thinking about other ways this goodness of the Lord – His faithfulness and provision – might be seen in our lives.
Yes, God is faithful in watering the earth and keeping our plants and yards alive. Where else is He faithful, that I too often take for granted? Yes, I sometimes get discouraged when I see my plants dying, my garden failing, and my yard parched and dying. What other circumstances cause me to become discouraged, when, really, I ought to be waiting on the Lord and giving Him thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5.18)? God is faithful to bless us through the rains. Does He want to bless others with His faithfulness through me? And so forth.
Wait for it
I find it helpful in times of meditation to journal my thoughts back to the Lord, beginning with that integrating insight or idea and extending it as far as it will go, as the Spirit of God leads me to consider His beauty and excellence, and my needs, failings, and calling. Journaling is an excellent way to practice waiting on the Lord, to discover where else He may lead you in seeking His goodness.
As I journal, other Scriptures will come to mind, shedding even more light on my experience and reminding me of other, complementary attributes of God or aspects of His will. If I wait long enough, listening carefully for the prompting of God’s Spirit, He may even put me in mind of specific attitudes of which I need to repent, or new courses of action I might take to know His steadfast love and faithfulness or to serve Him more consistently. Over the years, my journal notes have provided useful reflections to return to, and even to augment, as the Lord continues to show me more and more of His beauty, goodness, and truth by speaking to me everywhere.
In meditation you revisit, stretch out, and extend your encounter with God’s glory and the mind of Christ, allowing His Spirit to work within you so that you can be renewed in the mind of Christ, and the goodness of the Lord can come to light in more of your life, more of the time. Meditation makes your integrating insight something more than just a conclusion or an abstract notion. Meditation massages that insight into your soul – heart, mind, and conscience – revealing more of God’s glory, transforming us ever so slightly into the image of Jesus Christ, and fitting us for good works in our daily lives.
Meditation is an important discipline for growing a sound mind. No wonder it was the “one thing” David felt he needed more of in his life. How about you?
1. Do you practice meditation on Scripture? How do you do that? Why? What benefit do you gain for the renewing of your mind from meditating on the mind of Christ in His Word?
2. Does it make sense to meditate on creation? How can your practice of meditating on Scripture guide you in meditating on your observations, associations, and integrating statements from the revelation of God in His world?
3. Do you think this would be a fruitful exercise for renewing your mind in the mind of Christ? Why do you suppose most Christians don’t do this?
Next steps – Preparation: Set aside a time for extended meditation on one of the integrating statements you have made, and the observation and associations that led to that. Jot down any ways that this time of meditation leads you to extend your experience into other areas of your life.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.