We wrap up our introduction on Inward Beauty by looking at the benefits of the disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting and study. We’ve covered the distractions – all in all, selfishness is the ultimate distraction. We also looked at practice last week which turns our focus from ourselves to Jesus. The benefits of these practices result in what we recognize as inner beauty. Let’s dive in to the joy of inner beauty!
God’s word transforms us. If you have been practicing meditation on scripture for years or even just this past week you have no doubt sensed the peace that settles in your heart as a result. Fifteen minutes of meditation on His Word will have a profound effect on your day. What is in your heart comes out of your mouth. If Scripture or even a solid Gospel-focused hymn or poem is on the surface of your thoughts you and those around you will experience the benefits of those words being in your heart. Have you ever spent time around someone who softly sings or hums worship through her day (or his)? Have you noticed the calm presence she brings into the room? This is just one of the many benefits of meditation on Scripture. What is your favorite verse or hymn? Write it out today and meditate on the truth of those words in every circumstance you face this week.
As discussed last week, meditation often leads to conversation with Jesus. The benefits of prayer are beyond our ability to count. When Scripture is on our hearts in a situation our conversations with Jesus will help us to see the situation as He does, not likely with full detail but with MUCH more of his perspective than if we were looking at it without him. Our heart’s desire is a will aligned with the will of God. Mark Driscoll states it best, “God doesn’t need your prayers, you do.” Take that situation to him in prayer this week and watch how he leads and guides you through it.
Did you try fasting a meal last week? Fasting certainly puts our heart’s desires right out in front of us to deal with. When we stop giving in to everything our flesh wants we are experiencing the fruit of the Spirit known as self-control. Fasting particular foods for days certainly has physical benefits but don’t let the physical benefits be all you experience. Allow the Lord to reveal desires in your heart not in line with his own. In our weakest moments we are blessed to have a strong God who will lovingly step into our heart and gracefully and gently remove what we don’t need or want in our lives. When your heart is holding tightly to a physical want it is not holding tightly to spiritual need. What food do you need to take a break from for three days? A week? A month… maybe forever?
Confusion and fear are replaced by confidence and faith when you spend time in God’s word daily. I don’t know anyone who wants to live in a state of confusion and fear. The enemy will never stop throwing distractions at you during your study time. So if you have not set that time up in your day, you need to start there. And listen, a 5 minute devotional is great but that 5 minutes is only a prelude to your study time. You are only skimming the surface of what God wants to show you in 15 minutes, an hour a day will make a much bigger difference. But if you haven’t started, go with 5 minutes and ask God to grow your desire for study. He will. And you will see the benefits – wisdom, understanding, confidence and faith are just the beginning. Your experiences in all your engagement will deepen with the study of God’s word.