John MacArthur explains in this 5 minute audio. After you listen you can join the conversation as well.
Archive for March 30th, 2010
Some great counsel from Darrin Patrick:
I have always struggled with prayer as a Christian. I was sharing my frustration one day with my seminary professor and spiritual disciplines guru Don Whitney. Dr. Whitney shared with me a quote for George Müller, a godly giant of the faith who also struggled with prayer. This is from an entry in George Müller’s diary, dated May 7, 1841.
- I saw more clearly than ever that the first great primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord . . . not how much I might serve the Lord, . . . but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers . . . and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been . . . to give myself to prayer after having dressed myself in the morning. Now, I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.
Whitney pointed out that Müller excelled in prayer only after he meditated on Scripture, that “getting his soul happy” was accomplished through meditation, which enabled communion with God through prayer. I became utterly convinced of this method and have sought to practice it ever since.
What Does It Mean to Meditate on Scripture?
The Greek word for meditate means “to attend.” To meditate is to read with attention to what the verse is saying and then seeking to understand the verse its context. The Hebrew words for meditate are hagah, which means to ponder or imagine (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2), and siyach, which means to converse with oneself, to pray (Psalm 119:15).
So meditation is when we pay attention to God’s Word, understanding it in relation to its context. It involves pondering God’s Word, asking questions about the application of its truth, speaking that truth to oneself, and using God’s Word in prayer to God himself. Below is a sample meditation following these guidelines.
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
- What does it mean that God is my Lord? What is he Lord of?
- What does he want to shepherd me through right now?
- What is my want?
- God, in what ways are you providing for me that I am not even aware of?
“It is in meditation that the heart holds and appropriates the Word. . . . The intellect gathers and prepares the food upon which we are to feed. In meditation the heart takes it in and feeds on it” (Andrew Murray).
Meditation is not just praying, nor is it merely reading Scripture. Meditation is prayerfully reading Scripture, taking God’s Word and turning it into a prayer to God.
During this Passion week, let’s be consumed with Jesus!
“Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.
To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ. The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.
If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.”
(HT: Truth Matters)
“Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.
D. A. Carson writes that this speaks “to the abandonment of things, yielding up the right of ownership, rather than outright disposal of them. The disciple of Jesus may be given the use of things in trust, as a stewardship, but they are no longer his own. The present tense implies that what Jesus requires in relation to possessions is a continual attitude of abandonment.”
John MacArthur also comments,
You become a steward of everything and an owner of nothing. What you’re saying is, I don’t have any relationships that aren’t subordinated to your Lordship. I don’t have any self-interests that aren’t subordinated to your Lordship.” You subordinate every other relationship to the one you have with Christ You subordinate your desires to His. You subordinate your belongings to His kingdom. You hold nothing firmly in this world, but you are willing to give it up for Him―whether that be family, plans, or money. And you don’t give it up so that you can earn salvation! You give it up because Jesus is LORD!