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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do Not Worry

Matthew 6: 25-34 "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life....And why do you worry about clothes?...So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?"...For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day  has enough trouble of its own."

Dictionary.com defines "meditation" as continued or extended thought. It gives a synonym of "mulling over". In the ancient Jewish tradition, meditation did not always take on the yoga-like characteristics of sitting in the lotus postion and "emptying" your mind. It was a much more active thought process that included chanting or repeating verses from the Torah, visualization, deep thought and reflection on specific words or phrases. They even had a form of meditation called "walking meditation" where they would meditate as they went about their day. Part of the meditative process might even involve discussion with others on a topic or a verse.

Repeatedly in the Psalms, the writers talk of meditating on God's acts and his law. In Psalm 19:14, David says, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Again in 104:34 an unknown psalmist asks that his meditation be pleasing to the Lord.

So this begs the question, Can my meditation be displeasing? If it can, what would displeasing meditation look like? Well, back to the definition and description of meditation. If you think of doing all these things in a negative light, it looks a lot like worry. Do you repeat concerns to yourself over and over? That's worry. Do you visualize bad things happening? That's worry. Do you spend a lot of time in deep thought and reflection on something negative in your life? That's worry. Are you constantly talking to others about negative topics in your life? Worry. Worry is nothing but negative meditation.

I'm not saying that we can't express our concerns and share our burdens, but there comes a time when we have to let it go and let God have it so he can deal with it. These verses in Matthew talk about the provision of God and his blessings for us. They talk about how our heavenly Father already knows what we need and when we constantly worry we are expressing doubt that he can take care of us.

In Psalm 145, we have David writing again. In verses 3 & 4, he talks of the greatness of God's acts and in verse 5 he states "They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works." Sounds a lot better than a lot of the stuff I find myself thinking about all day.

What if, we had a Bible verse for every worry that we had? What if, every time we found ourselves beginning to worry over something, we took out one of those verses and thought about that instead? What if, like David in Psalm 119, we meditated on God's Word instead of our worries? What if, we wanted our meditation to be pleasing to God? Think you don't know how to meditate? If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.

So I am going to recommend that we all get some 3X5 cards, or create a file in your PDA, however you want to do it. Make ourselves a list of verses that specifically address our concerns. Tomorrow, we all need to think about the glorious splendor of God's majesty instead of whatever it is that has been eating at us and we need to meditate on God's wonderful works. I bet we will all be in a better mood.

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