Week 2: Following Jesus on the Path of Peace

You’ve prayed and read scriptures, you’ve worshiped, and now it’s time to put the truth into action. Every week, our “Follow” section will look at simple ways to follow Jesus. One way to describe these is “spiritual disciplines.” Please don’t read these practical ideas as a guilt trip or a to do list. They are simply suggestions. As you study spiritual disciplines, please pray about each of them. Let God reveal to you whether you are already practicing these or whether there are new ways you can be following him. Spiritual disciplines are simple ways to exercise spiritual muscles, but we are all individuals, and the Holy Spirit will guide you into your own personal training program.

Today’s spiritual discipline is meditation.

Meditation

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)…His mother treasured up all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)

Isn’t “treasure” a great word? Treasuring things in your heart is also called “meditation.” Meditation is different from Bible study. When we study, we learn all about what the Bible means and why it was written. When we meditate on the word of God, we slow down and really listen to God’s word, focusing on one small piece at a time. We ask the Lord how we are supposed to respond. Study and meditation are both important, and they both lead to application (putting what we learn into practice). Without study—without knowing what the Bible means—we can’t meditate on it or apply it very well. Without meditation, our study can be limited to head knowledge that we never put into practice. Meditation helps us to draw near to God and allow him to plant his word in our hearts.

Practical Ideas for Meditation

  • Simply writing a verse or two in your journal will help you to slow down and look at it, phrase by phrase.
  • Carry a verse around in your pocket all day and read it often.
  • Go for a walk after you read the Bible, and think about what you read, asking God to help you put it into practice.
  • My friend Amy pairs verses with her own photos and saves them to her phone so she can revisit them often.
  • My friend Mary focuses on key words within a verse, and ponders one word at a time—its synonyms as well as antonyms.

In the Path of Peace book, I end each new week by summing up the previous week and how that week’s readings contribute to peace. I call this section “Peace be with you.”

Peace be with you

Think about the Scriptures we read today, the attribute we studied (holiness), and the spiritual discipline we discussed (meditation). How might any or all of these things contribute to peace in your life?

Examples:

  • I have peace because I see God’s faithfulness to his people in sending the Messiah. This encourages me to trust that he will be faithful to me.
  • Meditating on God’s word can help me replace anxious thoughts with peace-giving truth.

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