“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22 NLT)
Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud: by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
The “probe-it” method of Bible study is a great way to do that. When you use this method, you probe the text with questions, almost like a jackhammer. To help you do that, I’ll share with you one of the strangest acrostics I’ve ever used: SPACEPETS. Each letter in the phrase is the first letter of a key word in a question you ask of God’s Word.
- Is there a SIN to confess? Does God’s Word make you aware of something you need to make right with God?
- Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God’s Word. Ask yourself if the passage you’ve read contains a universal promise. Ask whether you’ve met all the conditions of the promise. Every promise has a premise!
- Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something you need to think about differently? Do you need to work on a negative attitude, worry, guilt, fear, loneliness, bitterness, pride, apathy, or ego?
- Is there a COMMAND to obey? Is there a command you need to obey, no matter how you feel?
- Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid?
- Is there a PRAYER to pray? Paul, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah, among others, pray in the Bible. You can use their prayers and know that they’ll be answered because they’re in the Bible and in God’s will.
- Is there an ERROR to avoid? It’s wise to learn from experience, and it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others! We don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. So what can you learn from the mistakes of those in Scripture?
- Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we’ll read something in Scripture that we can’t do anything about. We simply have to believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible.
- Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage you can be grateful to God for, like something God has done or protected you from.
Every question in this list has a verb in it; there is something you can do associated with them. Write them in your Bible or put them on a notecard you keep with your Bible. They’ll help you be “doers of the Word” every time you meditate on the Bible.
The heart is at the heart of all our relationships. Today, if we experience the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit, we must not harden our heart. Scripture offers four steps to a softened heart.
First, ask God to do a thorough heart exam. David prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart…” (Psalm 139:23). We must give God permission to look deeply into our hearts to find anything offensive to Him. Second, we should admit sin to God and to our spouse, just as James exhorts us, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other…” (James 5:16). Such honest admission frees the way for God to cleanse and restore our hearts. Third, invite God to change our heart in any way He chooses. David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10). And fourth, forgive those who have offended us. Jesus said, “If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them…” (Mark 11:25). Forgiving others breaks the shackles of bitterness and sets prisoners free—and that’s us.
Bob Moeller and Cheryl Moeller, One-Minute Devotions for Couples (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2013).