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Pastor of Griggs in Greenville, SC. I write about the gospel, the church, and the soul. 

Effective Journaling

Effective Journaling

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Meditation is Biblical. For example, Psalm 1 states that the blessed man meditates on the law of the Lord day and night. Now, this isn't sitting with your legs crossed and your palms up. Though, I guess if you really want to do that I'm not stopping you. But what the scriptures are referring to in Psalm 1 is intentional, applicational thinking.

Biblical meditation is taking a fact about Jesus and asking, "How does this affect me?" Then repeating the answer to yourself throughout the day whenever you get a spare moment.

How you do this is up to you but, in my opinion, the most accessible way to meditate is through journaling. The problem you might run into, however, is not knowing what to write down. You have a lot of things to think about, but how do get them onto paper effectively, consistently and in a way that is Jesus-centric?

Fortunately, Paul the Apostle has given us some guidance...

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Here Paul is encouraging the church at Philippi because they're worried about him. He's in jail, things are uncertain, but he's helping them stay calm. He tells them to rejoice, to pray, and meditate on anything that meets the criteria of the above list. Two thousand years later, we take the same list and follow suit.

Buy a new notebook. None of these fancy pants notebooks that are over $20. Paper is paper. Don't let anyone tell you different. Well, I must confess, I used to buy $2 notebooks at CVS. Then, my friend Jon told me about Greenroom Notebooks and I love them. You can get them at Target for about $7.

Next, you're going to sit down with your new notebook and write this list on every page leaving a few spaces between each word, like this:

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You may not be able to do this on every page in one sitting, but perhaps you can do this on the first 20-30 pages. Great! That means, that for the next 20-30 days you're ready to journal using God given writing prompts.

Each day, get out your journal and write a few sentences about each word on the list. Here are some examples off the top of my head...

True: Jesus has taken my sin and separated it from me as far as the east is from the west. I am no longer defined by my sin. I'm forgiven for all of it. 

Honorable: I may fear what others think of me, but it is honorable for me to live like Jesus, offering my friendship to those I come in contact with today. 

Just: I cannot control what others do, but I can control what I do. Instead of seeking to correct everyone, I'll simply step back and allow God to guide them. 

Pure: I am going to show kindness to difficult people today not for what I can get from them, but in simple obedience to the 2nd great commandment

Lovely: No matter what goes on at work today, I'll have my wife and kids to come home to tonight. They are a true gift from a good God. 

Commendable: I really appreciate the hard work my wife puts in to keeping the kids clean, safe, and healthy. She sacrifices much, just like Jesus. I'll make sure to thank her today. 

Excellence: Jesus says to do whatever is right in front of me with my might. I don't know if I'm going to get the promotion, but I'll prepare for the meeting and give it my best shot. 

Worthy of Praise (Hint: This one is always Jesus): Jesus is worthy of praise for the redemption he purchased on my behalf at the cross! 

As you daily journal through this list, you'll be committing the goodness of Jesus to memory in specific ways. You'll be practicing thankfulness to God. You'll be blessed like the guy in Psalm 1. Such is the power of Biblical meditation. Don't just journal. Journal effectively. 

Sleep

Sleep

Why Writing Works

Why Writing Works