Our Actions Are Birthed Through Our Thoughts
It’s essential to read the Bible, but beyond that we should also study Scripture. Even more important, however, is meditating on God’s Word. This is because when we meditate on what the Bible says, it changes what we think about, which affects what we do.
Read the Bible
As followers of Jesus, we learn more about him and how to be his disciples through Scripture. By reading the Bible we get a glimpse into the life of Jesus to see what he said and what he did. Then we can emulate his actions and obey his teachings to become more Christlike.
Reading the Bible is a great start. I do it every day and encourage everyone to do with as well. Yet beyond reading God’s holy word is to examine it. We should study Scripture.
In the Old Testament we see Ezra devoting himself to studying the law, that is the Jewish Scripture—the Old Testament of the Bible—specifically the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Ezra 7:10).
In the New Testament, Jesus commends the Jews for their diligent study of the scriptures, which testify about him (John 5:39). Today we have both the Old and New Testaments for us to read and study so we can learn more about Jesus—and about God.
Meditate on God’s Word
Studying scripture is a rewarding endeavor, but we must make sure we don’t do it to amass knowledge but to inform our understanding of God. Paul warns the church in Corinth to pursue love over knowledge, saying that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Though the context of Paul’s instruction is about food sacrificed to idols, his warning to not allow ourselves to become proud over our knowledge is a warning we should all heed. We don’t want to take pride in our knowledge about the Bible, to become puffed up by what we know.
Instead, we should take the next step and meditate on it. We should hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). We do this as we read, study, and meditate on the Bible.
Studying Scripture puts the Bible’s words in our minds; meditating on God’s Word puts it in our hearts. This is where it needs to be; this is where it must be if we are to apply what we read in the Bible to what we do and say.
Drive Our Actions
As we meditate on the Bible—as we hide God’s Word in our hearts—the desired outcome is that we won’t sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Though meditating on God’s Word won’t make us sinless, it will help us to sin less.
This is because what we put into our minds influences what comes out of our mouths and what our body does. Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do.
The old computer saying is GIGO—garbage in garbage out. What we enter into a computer is what we can expect to get out of it.
The same is true in our lives. If we fill our minds with junk—with the thoughts of the world, evil, and ideas contrary to the Word of God—that’s what we can expect our minds and our bodies to produce.
Yet if we fill our mind with the thoughts of God, by meditating on God’s Word, we can expect a positive and God-honoring result.
May it be so.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.