Our approach to Scripture is usually defunct.
First problem: We read the Bible but gain no insight from the flood of information.
Second problem: Even if we gain insight, we are unable to live it out.
Meditation is a tool for gaining more insight from input, but insight is only useful for holiness if we can live it out. So even if we solve the fist problem with a three-step process of meditation, the second problem still glares us in the face. We still cannot fix our lack of sin-slaughtering love for God.
The difficulty with learning and living spiritual truth is that it differs from learning the steps to work a simple arithmetic problem. As Dr. Kevin Washburn writes, learning and applying a new skill is a five-part cognitive process. However, living out spiritual truth requires a heart change because we are naturally born with an whole-hearted inclination toward evil. Because we were created to employ our minds, we should not neglect the cognitive process. But because we are a fallen creation, we also need need new birth and then regeneration by the Holy Spirit in order to live in accordance with God’s commands.
Since we are wholly inadequate in the flesh, we must turn to the ministry of the Spirit.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian learning and living?
Here’s what Scripture teaches:
We are sanctified (made to progressively be and act holy) in truth (John 17:17)…
The Holy Spirit guides us in truth (John 16:3) and enables understanding (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)…
Godliness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23) and by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13-14)…
What we believe shapes the way we live (Example: we are filled with fear because of our lack of faith in who God is) (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20)…
Sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth leads to salvation, and neither of those happen apart from God’s choosing us (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Bottom Line: Summary of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry
The Holy Spirit enables us to clearly see truth in such a way that we believe. The evidence that we have believed the truth is that we put to death sinful deeds and the fruits of the Spirt are produced in us (sanctification). Only the Holy Spirit can work such a change in us.
Without meditation, we will not be able to fill our mind with insight from Scripture.
Without the Spirit, meditation will only lead to head knowledge and not belief that transforms our life and motivate obedience from the heart.
As John Piper so aptly put it,
“Today the Spirit still instructs us by the Word of Scripture and we ought to pray earnestly for an outpouring of God’s enlightening Spirit so that the Scriptures really live for us and become intensely personal.”
Do you desire insight find insight in Scripture that will forever change the way you walk before the Lord? Do the same thing every single great man of faith has done through history: Make a habit of prayerfully mediating on God’s Word in humble reliance upon the Spirit’s fruit-producing work.