If we try to live with our walls down but don’t have our roots downs, then we will just kept swept along with the culture of our age. One way we can ensure that we are firmly rooted is to meditate regularly on Scripture (see Psalm 1).
The word law here means God’s instructions or teaching. It’s about meditating on his word and ways. As we each meditate on Scripture, we become like fruitful trees. So if we all do that, we produce a forest. Living with our walls up makes us like a fortress. But to live with roots down produces a forest – a life-giving, nourishing, protective community.
First, a word of warning. We must make sure we read the whole Story of the Bible, through a Jesus lens and with the help of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we might end up reading it religiously – and religion always put the walls back us. For example, we could use the idea of a distinction between the righteous and wicked in Psalm 1, and in other parts of the Bible, in a ‘them and us’ kind of way. But, in fact, none of us are righteous and all of us need the grace of God. This is really teaching us to make right or wrong choices in life. And we won’t make the right choices in the moment if we are not engaging in the practice of meditating on Scripture every day.
The choices in the moment are determined by our practices every day. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he was able to resist with scripture because he had been meditating on it deeply and regularly. Sometimes we want the life of Jesus without adopting the lifestyle of Jesus. He continually practised the presence of God. He habitually meditated on Scripture until it was so deep within him he even quoted it when hanging on the cross.
Meditating on Scripture is like:
- Eating words – Reading Scripture is like eating all your potatoes and vegetables; but meditating is like chewing on a lovely piece of meat – enjoying and savouring every bit. And inwardly digesting it so that it becomes life, health and energy within our souls.
- A dog with a bone – we chew on it, find every last morsel of nourishment in it, with a low ‘growl’ of pleasure as we taste and see that the Lord is good.
There are lots of ways to engage with Scripture – reading or listening to whole big chunks, lectio divina, imaginative participation, studying it etc. But daily meditation on it is vital.
See the sermon this post is based on here, for an example of how to do this.
If we practise biblical meditation like this daily, our souls will be strong and we will be firmly rooted in Scripture and in Jesus. Then we can stand firm, and wisely make the difficult choices we have to make in a world we live in with our walls down.