IT TAKES time to meditate, that is, to ponder, muse or think seriously about a matter. But it is time well spent. Thoughtful meditation on wholesome things brings a fine reward.
The Bible provides excellent guidelines as to matters that should rightly occupy our thoughts. We read: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.”—Phil. 4:8.
When a person makes such upbuilding things the object of his continual meditation, this has a good effect upon his heart. His appreciation for the rightness of such noble matters grows, and he becomes more aware that his acting in harmony with his meditation has a good effect upon himself and his fellowmen. As a result, what he says and does comes ever closer to God’s standard of purity and cleanness. This is shown by Jesus’ words: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.”—Luke 6:45.
Accordingly, the more an individual concentrates on upbuilding, positive matters, the more will this be reflected in his speech and actions. It is just as the Bible proverb says: “The heart of the righteous one meditates so as to answer, but the mouth of the wicked ones bubbles forth with bad things.” (Prov. 15:28) Profitable meditation serves to deter a person’s giving unbalanced, senseless answers. He will not be speaking just from the top of his head. Instead, he will weigh all the factors involved, taking the circumstances and feelings of other individuals into consideration, before answering on weighty matters. His heartfelt answer will then be one that he will not later regret.
Besides thus contributing toward the preservation of good relationships with fellow humans, meditation plays a vital role in maintaining a fine standing before the Creator. Like the inspired psalmists, we, therefore, do well to use times of quiet and solitude for meditating on the qualities and activities of Jehovah God. The psalmist David stated: “When I have remembered you upon my lounge, during the night watches I meditate on you. For you have proved to be of assistance to me, and in the shadow of your wings I cry out joyfully.” (Ps. 63:6, 7) Another psalmist declared: “I shall certainly meditate on all your activity, and with your dealings I will concern myself.”—Ps. 77:12.
All who desire to be God’s approved servants might ask themselves: Do I, like the psalmists, take time for meditating on the Creator and his activity? Do I reflect appreciatively on what he has done in my behalf—providing his Son as a ransom, opening my heart to respond to his truth, helping me to cope with daily problems of life, giving me a solid hope for the future, and much more? Do I think about his past dealings with mankind and the way he demonstrated love, mercy, justice, wisdom and so many other admirable qualities?
Such wholesome meditation can deepen our love for Jehovah God. As a consequence, our relationship will be like that of a child that trusts and loves its father and wants to please him. Our relationship with our heavenly Father will be a personal one, that is, we will really know him and his Son whom he gave in our behalf. When that is the case, it will be an impossibility for us to become willful practicers of sin. The apostle John pointed this out when he wrote regarding the effect of knowing and of not knowing Jesus Christ: “Everyone remaining in union with him does not practice sin; no one that practices sin has either seen him or come to know him.”—1 John 3:6.
Children who deeply love and appreciate their parents do not viciously turn against them. So also those who know God and his Son Jesus Christ do not turn their backs on them, deliberately pursuing a course that is contrary to the divine will.
On the other hand, a weak relationship with the Creator may lead to grave danger. Yes, failure to meditate on spiritual matters can lead to one’s losing out on God’s approval and blessing. Jesus Christ pointed this out in his illustration about the sower. Explaining that illustration, he said to his disciples: “Those alongside the road are the ones that have heard, then the Devil comes and takes the word away from their hearts in order that they may not believe and be saved. Those upon the rock-mass are the ones who, when they hear it, receive the word with joy, but these have no root; they believe for a season, but in a season of testing they fall away. As for that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection.”—Luke 8:12-14.
In each of the three situations described by Jesus Christ there was insufficient heart appreciation for the “word of God” or the “word of the kingdom.” (Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:11) Hard-packed soil alongside the road was produced by the flow of traffic. Similarly, when a person allows others to tramp through his life to such an extent that undue demands are made on his time and energies, he will be too preoccupied to give any heartfelt consideration to the “word of God.” Though he may hear it, his failure to meditate on it will keep the heart in an unresponsive state. As far as the other two circumstances are concerned, they, too, result from a failure to meditate enough on the right things. Hence, the measure of appreciation developed for the “word of the kingdom” is not strong enough to endure severe testing or to eclipse concerns over daily cares or desires for riches or pleasures.
Surely we do have good reason to take time to meditate on wholesome things. Such meditation can strengthen our relationship with the Creator, enabling us to remain clean in his eyes. It can also contribute much to our being a source of encouragement and blessing to others in word and deed.