Good cooks everywhere know that a good marinade makes a tough cut of meat tender and palatable. The Home Cooking section of About.com says cooks in pre-Columbian Mexico discovered that wrapping meats in papaya leaves before cooking made meat more tender and tasty.
Lest you think your subscription’s gone wonky and you’ve somehow landed on a cooking blog, I’d like to propose that Christians can also benefit from a good soak in the right marinade.
Marinades serve two functions: they tenderize meat and enhance its flavor. The acidic enzymes work on the protein fibers to soften them. Other ingredients, like the garlic, brown sugar, and pepper in my favorite marinade, enhance the subtle flavors of meat to create a palatable and pleasurable dish.
The biblical equivalent to marinating is meditating.
Christian meditation, as F. Antonisamy describes in his book, An introduction to Christian Spirituality, is “the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a Bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.”
A somewhat icky but excellent parallel to meditation is the process a cow uses as it chews its cud. It chews, swallows, regurgitates, and chews some more to get all the nutrition from its food.
Unlike eastern religions that encourage meditation by emptying one’s mind, biblical meditation involves channeling our minds to think on specific things.
Scripture shows three ways we should meditate:
1. Meditate on what God says.
When we deeply ponder a portion of Scripture, commit it to memory, and align our thoughts and actions with its instruction, we are changed. As we mine the treasure instead of just skimming the surface of God’s Word, it grows deep roots into our lives and makes us more like Jesus.
Ps 119:48-50 shows several other benefits of meditating on Scripture:
I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Meditating on God’s word brings hope, comfort, and preservation.
2. Meditate on what God has done.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:11-12)
By deliberately recalling God’s work in our lives and in the lives of others, past or present, we remind ourselves how active and faithful God is. The psalmist led the children of Israel to meditate on all God had done for them in Psalm 136, and it provides a wonderful template for our own praise and meditation. Meditating on God’s deliberate, timely, and miraculous action in our lives and in the world around us strengthens our faith and bolsters our trust.
Next time, I'll share a third way to meditate, four tips for incorporating meditation into your daily routine, and my recipe for Lori's Marvelous Marinade.
If you're not a subscriber yet, now would be a great time to subscribe. I'd love to send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions straight to your Inbox.
Hungry for God is on Facebook! Will you take a moment and LIKE my page? CLICK HERE to help HFG share 5-minute devotions.