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Success through Meditation
by Tom Brown

            Matthew has been a Christian for thirty years, yet, despite all this time, little has changed in his life. His career has gone nowhere. He has few friends. He struggles financially. His attitude is quite negative. He feels being faithful to God has not really paid off.

            The truth is, however, Matthew has never really let the Word of God be part of his life. Although he regularly attends church, he has not personally studied the Bible for himself. Matthew represents a lot of believers. They go to church, but they have seen little success in their lives. The reason is quite simple: they have not meditated on the Word of God.

            God told Joshua, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Josh 1:8). Prosperity and success is the result of personal meditation on the Word. People say, "I go to church and hear the Word." Fine, but do they take time to study the Word for themselves. God did not tell Joshua to remember the voice of Moses; rather, to meditate on the "book" of the law.

            Meditating the Word is like putting  bullets into your gospel gun. Many people claim to have faith, they confess the promises of God, but they are firing blanks. They make noise, but no impact. The reason is simple: they try to live from sermon to sermon. They go to church on Sunday and get encourage. Their faith grows as it should, since "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom 10:17, KJV), yet Monday through Saturday, they do little to grow their faith.

            While going to church is vital, and hearing the Word preached produces faith, there is no substitute for personal meditation and study in the Bible.         

            It is not enough to hear the Word preached; you must study the Bible for yourself. I think many Christians struggle in their faith because they are trying to live on one good meal a week. They attend church on Sunday, get well fed, and try to live by faith, but without a continual replenishing of the Word, they get discouraged. They face problems after problems during the week, and those problems beat them up. They try to maintain a positive, faith-filled attitude, but without constant meditation on the Word, they often fall away. By the time next Sunday rolls around, they come to church whipped, needing desperately spiritual nourishment. God did not create you to live on one good sermon a week anymore than He created you to live on one good meal a week.

            This explains why people's faith is not working. They wonder why the devil did not flee when they resisted him. They are surprised that their prayers were not answered. They are confused when God doesn't meet all their needs. They are discouraged when the symptoms in their bodies persist. They don't understand why their faith is not working. It is because they did not meditate on the Scriptures during the week. They thought the message on Sunday was enough to hold them down until next Sunday. It is not.

            God promised Joshua that if he meditated on the book of the law that he would be prosperous and successful. This is exactly the promised made in Psalm 1: 2-3:

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers"

            Prosperity will be yours, provided you "meditate day and night on his law." You might say, "I don't have time to study the Bible all day." The truth is, you do have time. You just have not made the time. You have time to read the newspaper, surf the web, text your friends, check your Facebook, watch TV, go to the movies, and spend time with your friends. You do have time. God would not demand study of the Word if you did not have the time. You must make the study and meditation of the Word a priority.

Noble people produce lasting fruit

            "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).

            There were two things that made the Bereans nobler than the Thessalonians. First, they were receptive to the Word preached. You will never grow in faith constantly criticizing faith-filled, biblically based sermons. Second, they did not simply receive the message preached, they confirmed it by "examining the Scriptures every day." This is where many believers falter. They receive the message preach"I loved the message from Joel Osteen, wow, I got so much out of Creflo Dollar today, Joyce Myers really spoke to me"yet, after hearing these powerful messages, they neglect "examining the scriptures everyday."

            The word "examine" means to carefully inspect with detail and to investigate thoroughly. While the Bereans received the Word preached, they did not totally take what Paul said as the truth. They wanted Scriptures to confirm it. And it did. Some people are gullible or simply too trusting of the ministers or maybe just too lazy. If Max Lucado said it, it must be true. If the Pope teaches it, it must be true. If Rick Warren believes it, it must be true. Now, what they teach may be true. The point is you must still examine the Scriptures for yourself, so your beliefs will be based totally on the Bible, not what someone told you.  

Parable of the Sower of the Word

            Jesus gave a parable to illustrate four types of people that hear the Word. One hears the Word, but does not believe it. Another hears the Word and receives it with joy, but they don't last because "they have no root" (Luke 8:13). The third person hears the Word and accepts it, but others things, more important than the Word, choke it from bearing fruit. It is the fourth person I want to focus on:

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" (v. 15).

            These people are called "noble." This is the same word that described the Bereans. The reason this last group of people were noble is because they "retained and persevered" in the Word. What made them different? Unlike the second group, that had no root, this group developed roots. They grew roots by "examining the scriptures everyday."

            Do you relate to the second group? They are very happy and joyful when they hear the Word. But Monday through Saturday they fail to grow roots. They do not meditate on the Word. Eventually, these people will either drop out of church altogether, or they will continue going without any real change taking place in their lives.

            I am sharing the missing link to prosperity and success. Not many ministers will tell you that you must study the Bible for yourself if you are to really develop roots and prosper.

Doer of the Word

            "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves" (James 1:22).

            No one becomes a doer of the Word simply by hearing it. You only become a doer of the Word by meditating on the Word. God tells Joshua the reason for meditating in the book: "so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."

            This is exactly what James had in mind. Notice carefully his language: "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). Notice the difference between the two people: the one who does not do the Word "merely listens to the word." But the doer of the Word "looks intently into the perfect law."  You do not "look" at a sermon, you "hear" it. You only "look" into a book. The thing that made the man a doer of the Word was that he "looked  intently" into the book, the Bible. Yes, he still "heard" the message preached, but he confirmed it by his personal study of the Bible.  

            The reason you need to meditate in the Scriptures is to remove any doubt you may have in the Word you heard preached.

            You see, the Bereans received Paul's message, yet, to remove any lingering doubts they "examined the scriptures everyday to see if what Paul said was true." As much as we think we believe the Word preached, we really do not totally believe it, until the Scriptures become part of our spirits. That only happens when you personally study the Bible yourself.

            Preaching is like a cook serving a meal at a restaurant. When you receive the Word, you eat what was part of the diet of the cook. Yet, you should not live on eating out at restaurants everyday. You have to sit down, eventually, and eat your own meal. This is meditating the Word. You are chewing the Word yourself as you study the Bible.

Mediate Your doubts

            The word "meditate" gives us the word "mediate." The purpose of meditation is to mediate for us. Mediate is to intervene between people in a dispute.  The dispute is between the old man and the new man. The Bible tells us to put off the "old man" (Eph 4:22, Gal 3:9 and Rom 6:6) and to "put on the new man" (Col 3:10, KJV).  The old man, is our old self that pulls us into the old way of life: a life of sin, sickness, poverty, worry, fear and defeat. The new man pulls us into the new life in Christ: a life filled with holiness, health, victory, success, prosperity, faith, peace and joy.

            It is through meditation in the Bible that you give the new man the proper information he needs to pull you in the direction of the new life. God created meditation to provide mediation for your doubts. Let me give you an example in my life that shows how meditation in the Bible finally gave me victory in the area of prosperity.

My doubts with the Prosperity Message

             I grew up in a good church, however, my pastor was getting a bit discouraged. The church had not grown in years. Matter of fact, it was declining in membership. His discouragement was seeping through his sermons. I remember some negative things he taught about divine healing; then him warning us to stay away from "prosperity teachers."

            My mother started to hear a new pastor  preaching the uncompromised message of faith, healing and prosperity. She then started to take us to this church. The first sermon I heard the pastor preach on was "Jehovah Jireh." I was so ignorant of the Bible that I got scared. I turned to my mother and said, "This is a Jehovah witness church. We need to get out." She assured me that we were not attending a Jehovah witness group.

            Then I got it. The pastor was explaining how God made a covenant with us to provide all our needs, including material needs. Just then, I remember my former pastor warned us about prosperity teachers. "This is the one he warned us of!" I thought to myself.

            After the service my mom asked me what I thought. I said,  "I don't like it. He teaches on prosperity and prosperity is wrong."

            She said, "This is our new church." I could either go back to my old church by myself, or continue with my mom to this new prosperity church. Although I did not like it, I stayed with her. I have to admit that I did have a hard time with the message of prosperity.

            I folded  my arms, curled my eye brow, gave a dirty look, every time the minister mentioned prosperity. At the same time, I noticed the scriptures mentioned it, too.  What was I to do?

            Eventually I came across a teaching series by Derek Prince, entitled, "The Three Keys to Prosperity." For the first time, the biblical message of  prosperity made sense. Prince explained that you must embrace all three keys: 1. Promises, 2. Conditions and 3. Purpose. When he explained that the purpose behind God prospering me was so I can have more to bless others, a light went on. I got it. Before this I thought I was to prosper so that I could be personally rich. I now understood that I was to be blessed so I can be a blessing.

            At that moment I began a personal search in the written Word of God on the subject of prosperity. After going through a thorough examination of the scriptures, I  embraced all of God's promises, including those to prosper me. No longer was I to doubt God's will to bless me. My faith for wealth is established with me. I still have to meditate and study the Word to maintain my faith; however, I would not be fully establish in the Word if I had not studied the Bible myself.

            God has ordained personal meditation of the Bible to mediate between the old and new man. Which self will rule your life: the old self or the new self? Only through meditation and study of the Bible will the new man in Christ rule. Only through study of the Bible will your doubts be removed. Then, as God told Joshua will happen to you: "You will be prosperous and successful."

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