Excerpt from Meeting God in Scripture

To apply Scrip­ture is to ask one­self, how does my behav­ior or think­ing com­pare with the prin­ci­ples of this pas­sage? Although this is an excel­lent ques­tion, we often answer it by nam­ing a few of our faults that peo­ple have point­ed out to us! If we’re more open to the Spir­it, God may bring to mind a new idea or pos­i­tive reas­sur­ance that fits exactly.

Scrip­ture med­i­ta­tion resem­bles appli­ca­tion in its process of ask­ing, how does this pas­sage inter­sect with my life? In Scrip­ture med­i­ta­tion, how­ev­er, we do not have to come up with a way that the Scrip­ture applies to us. Instead, we wait to get a sense of what God may be say­ing to us through the Scrip­ture. In oth­er words, we do not ini­ti­ate this; God does. Nor is it always cor­rec­tive; often it’s some­thing we sim­ply need to be assured of, such as I am loved!

Answers may not come imme­di­ate­ly, but the lec­tio div­ina process opens us up to an ongo­ing con­ver­sa­tion with God all day in which answers may come from unex­pect­ed sources. So appli­ca­tion is analy­sis, not reflec­tion. Dis­cern­ing an appli­ca­tion is a help­ful left-brain activ­i­ty where you con­nect the dots between the prin­ci­ple of the pas­sage and your life. Med­i­ta­tion is right-brained and intu­itive. We let go and lis­ten for what God thinks we need to know. 

The effect of med­i­ta­tion is dif­fer­ent too. Instead of feel­ing pres­sured to change our behav­ior, we let the Spir­it invite us into a next step. While appli­ca­tion may often feel coerced (The pas­sage says X, so you should do X), med­i­ta­tion is an invi­ta­tion (See how Jesus did X? Why don’t you try X?)

Because trans­for­ma­tion is as much caught as taught, med­i­ta­tion allows you to catch” things from the Spir­it through the words of Scrip­ture. Med­i­ta­tion then results in a change of char­ac­ter that is unforced and at times seems unplanned. Instead, it is organic. 

Scrip­ture med­i­ta­tion goes much deep­er than sim­ple appli­ca­tion. It opens us up to being com­plete­ly undone by the Spir­it and remade in the pres­ence of the Word of God.

Excerpt­ed from Meet­ing God in Scrip­ture by Jan John­son (Inter­Var­si­ty Press, 2016). You may pur­chase this title from the pub­lish­er by click­ing HERE.

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