For the week in between Christmas and New Year’s, I hope to post a series of thoughts and helps for thinking through, and hopefully growing in, our private relational life with the Lord. Christian short hand for this is “personal devotion” time. To get us started, here’s a great passage from an English puritan named Thomas Brooks:
“He that would read to profit must read and meditate.
“Meditation is the food of your souls, it is the very stomach and natural heat whereby spiritual truths are digested. A man shall as soon live without his heart, as he shall be able to get good by what he reads, without meditation. Prayer, saith Bernard, without meditation, is dry and formal, and reading without meditation is useless and unprofitable. He that would be a wise, a prudent, and an able experienced statesman, must not hastily ramble and run over many cities, countries, customs, laws, and manners of people, without serious musing and pondering upon such things as may make him an expert statesman; so he that would get good by reading, that would complete his knowledge, and perfect his experience in spiritual things, must not slightly and hastily ramble and run over this book or that, but ponder upon what he reads, as Mary pondered the saying of the angel in her heart. Lord! saith Augustine, the more I meditate on thee, the sweeter thou art to me; so the more you shall meditate on the following matter, the sweeter it will be to you.
“They usually thrive best who meditate most. Meditation is a soul-fattening duty; it is a grace-strengthening duty, it is a duty-crowning duty…
“You may read much and hear much, yet without meditation you will never be excellent, you still never be eminent Christians.”