“Let these words sink down into your ears” (Luke 9:43).
“Meditate on these things” (I Tim. 4:15).
“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” (II Tim. 2:7).
Meditation is almost a lost art today. People fantasize and daydream, but that is not the same as pondering facts and reality. They obtain information quickly about many things. In fact, never before have people been able to read, watch, and listen to so much so often. Our digital devices give us instant information—and disinformation—about almost anything or anyone at any time. But that knowledge is usually easy come, easy go. Our increasingly short attention span soon turns to some other more interesting or more entertaining venue. As a result, pieces of information, even valuable ones, slip as quickly from our mind as they entered.
We say, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” That is true. But a crowded mind is also the devil’s playground. When people are so overwhelmed with information that they don’t have time to process it, they become confused and make terrible decisions. They lose any common sense they might have had. They can’t tell the difference between what is serious and what is trivial, between what is truth and what is fiction.
Our time was labeled the information age years ago. But it has become the information overload age. Knowledge on just about any subject is right at our fingertips. But it comes with a price. The mind can only absorb so much at a time. It must be given rest. It must be given room. It is no wonder that many are so stressed today. Our curiosity drives us to find out more than we are able to bear. Instead of drinking from a fountain, we are trying to drink from a fire hydrant.
Paul Harvey was one of the most unique voices in radio history. But it was not just what he said and how he said it that attracted listeners across the country. It was what he didn’t say. He was a master at pausing after he had made a point. It was as if he said, “Now let that sink in. Ponder that for a moment.” His characteristic silence at the end of an important sentence was powerful. But that has changed. Everyone in the media today tries to say as much as possible without pausing to catch their breath. Recorded spots are even worse. Computers remove any silent spaces and the result is unnatural and hard to remember because there is no time to absorb what is said. Producers don’t like down time because they fear losing money and listeners but the result is a less penetrating message.
Christians of all people should make meditation a habit. David said he pondered the moon and the stars and learned much about God and man (Psa. 8:3-8). Jesus said we should consider birds and lilies if we want to learn not to worry (Matt. 6:26-30). It is not enough just to say, “I believe God made all this.” We should think about them to the point that we stand in awe of the Creator.
It is also not enough just to hear or read the Bible. We must think about it and reflect on it. The good man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2). There are many religious resources today to help you understand the Bible—books, blogs, videos and much more. Some are good and some are not. But even with the best ones there is always a potential pitfall. You can go from one to another or spend so much time with them that you make two unintentional mistakes. One is that you spend more time with what man says than with what God said. The second is that you give no time to really think about what the Bible says.
The only way to have balance and clarity is to discipline yourself to focus on the Word of God. This is simple but not easy in this age, but you can do it. When you make it a habit, you will have a peace and wisdom you can’t imagine.