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Fundamentals Of Meditation (Part 6. Can God Say You Are Lovely?)
Although part of a series, this is a complete study on its own. (6 of 9 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
We have been looking into things in which we should ponder when we meditate. It is now time to examine things that are lovely . In the previous four articles we have considered things that are true, honest, just and pure .
Beginning with the article Fundamentals of Meditation (Part 1. Christian Meditation vs. New Age Meditation), this series hopes to shed light on those things that would help sharpen the practice of meditation before a holy God. Meditation we covered, has the same elements as that of worship. To prepare to meditate, one must look inwardly and confess any un-confessed sins before God. Sin comes between God and the person that would wish to receive anything while meditating. This confession is really an emptying of oneself out, of all attitudes, and pretense, and anything that would prevent fellowship with God. It is at this time that requests on behalf of others and any for the person's own needs would be asked. Lastly, a confiding in God, as one would with a person that is a trusted friend and ally. It is a time of speaking all the desires of one's heart. Finally, with a Scripture principle, or verse, or concept on one's mind, one waits at the Lord's feet for anything that may be given him. It may be a renewed energy to witness, a new way to see a trial, a new insight into how to do a ministry for others, a new course of study to get closer to God and grow, or any number of other things that God may give. And of course the one meditating will be given a measure of the two promises that were mentioned in Paul's passage, a peace that passes all understanding and health of the mind.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation [control of self] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think [meditate] on these things." (Philippians 4:4-8)
The word lovely is such a quaint, archaic word, barely used anymore. The question "How do I look?" will hardly get anyone saying, "You are lovely." It seems to understate the feeling that people would like to hear. People want to hear they are beautiful, ravishing, hot, smokin'; but "lovely" is like the word fine. It seems to mean just okay, or barely acceptable. I think that we can conclude that its meaning and usage has changed over the years. To say someone was lovely in years past was akin to saying that there was irresistible beauty causing attraction. If a man were to say someone was lovely it would prompt the question, "What are your intentions?" Suffice it to say the word lovely had a great deal more weight to it then.
A hint of how powerful the word was, in its correct context, is in the verse of Scripture in Isaiah 52:7 that says:
"How beautiful (lovely) upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Nothing is as important as salvation of the lost to our God who loved us and gave His life for us. God says that the dirty, smelly feet of those that would witness to the precious souls needing salvation are beautiful or lovely. Even God Himself and the courts of heaven are considered lovely. Here are some other references to give you an idea of how the word has lost its import over the years.
"How lovely is Your tabernacle O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1-2)
"The utterance of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down with eyes wide open: 'How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings O Israel.'" (Numbers 24:4-5)
"Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praises to His name for it is pleasant[or transliterated: "celebrate His lovely name with music"]." (Psalm 135:3)
"And in all the land were found no women so beautiful [lovely] as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers." (Job 42:15)
The word lovely had no gender for the word was used to mean handsome, beautiful, wonderful but always in the superlative.
That is the Old testament Hebrew, now let's look at the word used by Paul in his Philippian letter. The word lovely is the Greek word prosphiles (pros-fee-lace') which means acceptable, friendly towards. It comes from a combining of two words, the first pros which means toward or to be accepted, acceptable and philos which is one of the forms of love in the Bible referring to loyalty (kiss of loyalty) allegiance, in Scriptural terms a brotherly love possible in the Spirit's power only. (This type of love in the superlative is still less then the sacrificial love of agapeo that Christ exemplified when He died for us).
So a definition of the "lovely things" Paul spoke of would be anything that would bring you closer or toward God. The things that are acceptable in His sight, people and things that inspire loyalty to God and to God's will would be lovely things. These would include things like church services, prayer partners, loyal servants that can be emulated, inspiring books that cause devotional thoughts and studies, for an example. Thinking on why the burden for souls is so strong in some and how one may emulate that, is thinking on things that are lovely. All manner of things that brings one closer to God and at which God would show His approval, are lovely things.
God shows His lovely things in so many aspects of our lives. Seeing things through God's eyes of reasoning will let one see the loveliness in all of God's will. It is possible to see the most horrible things and when one sees it through God's eyes of understanding, can see its loveliness. A death, so horrible to the survivors, but lovely because of the soul that goes on to God. Sickness, an accident, injury - horrible- but when seen with God's eyes may be lovely to behold. Sickness is a time to be with God and renew one's relationship with Him, to learn reliance. Accident or injury is horrible or can be, but with God's will in mind, a thing of loveliness from which we can learn, like Joni Eareckson Tada, who did not even acknowledge God until wheelchair bound, but now is a powerhouse for God, lovely!
Loveliness is a concept that will elude one that does not know Christ as his or her Savior. It will be so hard to see any loveliness because it is Spiritually discerned. If you have trouble seeing the lovely things of life maybe you have not asked Jesus into your heart to save you from your sins. Maybe there has been no time where you have realized you were like everyone ever born- you are a sinner. Sin has ruled your life from the time you were born because it was passed to you from the first pair of humans Adam and Eve. Jesus came to bleed and die to save sinners, all sinners. To ask Jesus to save you is admitting you can't save yourself and that if you die you know that you would have no one way get to heaven because of that sin weighing you down. If this is you, pray this, or something like this:
Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I can not save myself from hell. I believe you died on Calvary's cross to pay for my sin, was buried and arose from the dead on the third day. I believe that you want to pay for my sin if I confess before you my need. Lord I need you. Be merciful to me a sinner. Please forgive me for my sin and be my personal Lord and Savior. I believe the Gospel, that is, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I turn from my sin and turn to you as the only way of salvation. Thank you for saving me. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
May Jesus grant you the ability to see every bit of His loveliness in this life that we now live for Him. May loveliness flow from you in abundance and grant you peace.
Other hubs about Christian Meditation: