Joanna Gaines has more than three million followers on Instagram. Popular Pinterest boards are full of her design ideas. The HGTV show Fixer Upper, which features Joanna and her husband Chip as they remodel the worst homes in the best neighborhoods, is a smash hit. Why is that? Is remodeling and renovating homes really so riveting? Perhaps. But isn’t it really because we all love a Cinderella story? Don’t we all feel a little bit like a fixer-upper ourselves, in need of new siding, new paint, and sometimes a new foundation? We long for the day when someone will come and put in the time and work to transform us into the people we were created to be.
Longing for Goodness
It is not wrong to wish that we were someplace better or that we were someone better. Our souls are homesick for prosperity. Not prosperity in the slick sense of shiny cars or stacks of hundred-dollar bills, but a richness of life that includes health, balance, whole relationships with God and people, clear purpose, meaningful work, and freedom from fear. A life with Christ in God. Heaven on earth.
While God never promises us full prosperity in this life, the discipline of meditation enables us to taste heaven in the here and now. It does this both experientially and practically. Experientially, we actually feel our hearts “strangely warmed,” as John Wesley famously wrote of his conversion experience. And practically, it changes us as we incorporate wise practices and Christlike behavior into our lives as a result of spending time in God’s presence and marinating in His Word.
Looking like Christ
Have you ever noticed that people who spend a lot of time together sometimes end up looking or sounding like each other? That can happen to old married couples or lifelong friends, and it can happen to Christians who spend time with Jesus. That’s why they were first called “Christians,” that is, “little Christs”—because people who saw believers in the first century realized that they walked and talked like Jesus.
Do you want to become more like Christ? Then practice the spiritual discipline of meditation.
Remember that Christian meditation involves two actions: (1) emptying yourself of the noise and distraction of the world, and (2), filling yourself with the person and Word of God. Unlike the mindless oms of other types of meditation, Christian meditation is highly mindful and clearly focused on the person and words of God. To meditate well, we can pick a particular quality or promise of God and turn it over and over in our minds, seeing the different facets of truth as we consider it first from one angle and then from another.
Try it for yourself. Read Psalm 1 and reflect on the first two verses.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Consider the first verse. Are there patterns of thinking or behavior that you imitate from the world? What things might you need to “put off” from the world in order to “put on” Christ (Romans 13:14)? Now consider the second verse. Think of something in which you delight. It could be a hobby like scrapbooking or small engine repair; it could be reading travel books or flipping houses; it could be a spouse or a child or a favorite cat; or it could be an activity like hiking or shopping. When you’re doing that delightful thing—or spending time with that delightful person—doesn’t time fly? When it’s over, you can’t wait to do it again. What steps could you take today to delight like that in God’s person and in His Word?
Continue in this vein as you meditate on God’s Word, savoring it one bit at a time and fully absorbing what it has to tell you.