on September 1, 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Theology
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We live in a fast-paced world, and our minds are working in overdrive. Mindfulness promises a method of tuning out the voices for a few minutes to live in the moment. Biblical meditation offers something better: an opportunity to be transformed by God's voice of truth.
Psalm 1 says that the person who delights in God’s word and meditates on it day and night is like a “tree planted by streams of water”. Linda Allcock gives us a framework to help us slow down and dwell deeply on God’s word so that it clears our minds and fills our hearts, making a real difference to the way we live.
This book will help Christians who feel overwhelmed by their thought life, as well as those who want to go deeper in their devotional life.
Full of down-to-earth anecdotes and practical advice, this warm and accessible book is designed to help make biblical meditation part of your everyday life.
When I was a teenager, I attended some church youth retreats that emphasized memorizing and meditating on Scripture. I was the type of nerd who thought that this was a wonderful experience, and even though I am rusty on some of the passages that we learned, I can still recite Jeremiah 17:5-10 to perfection. When I first saw this book, the tree design made me think of that passage and the favorite retreat t-shirt that I still wear, and reading this brought back wonderful memories of how well my childhood church supported my spiritual formation. Deeper Still addresses the importance of dwelling on Scripture in the midst of daily life, and does so in a way that is accessible both to people like me and to those who are new to the concept.
The Meaning of Meditation
Linda Allcock clearly differentiates biblical meditation from the types of meditation taught by other religions or in secular workshops. She affirms the value of mindfulness meditation as a way to relax, be aware of the moment, and relieve anxiety, but encourages Christians to go beyond this and experience the relief that comes from meditating on God’s truth, instead of just emptying our minds. She shares about her own experiences dealing with postpartum depression in the past, showing how she was able to take action against distorted thought patterns by emphasizing truth and hope from Scripture. In Deeper Still: Finding Clear Minds and Full Hearts through Biblical Meditation, she makes a case for how valuable meditation is, and guides readers through the process.
Encouragement and Hope
Each chapter addresses different elements of Bible study, ongoing meditation, and talking to yourself in a way that redirects stressful, self-defeating thoughts towards biblical truth. The chapters all conclude with examples and ideas for how readers can put these ideas into practice. However, even though Allcock emphasizes spiritual disciplines throughout this book, she never emphasizes a person’s own performance as the anchor for their salvation. She consistently highlights the work of Christ on our behalf, encouraging her readers that even when they struggle, God approves of them in Christ, is with them, and loves them. This book is full of encouragement and hope, and regardless of how long someone has been a Christian, there will be something here that can help them reevaluate their devotional practices, fight distraction, and anchor themselves to God’s truth in the midst of life’s demands.
I read this book straight through in a few days, but readers could also break it up into shorter readings as part of their devotions. It is important to read the chapters in consecutive order, because they build on each other, but the book can adapt to a flexible reading schedule. This could also be a great group study resource, especially for people who have a hard time staying motivated and could use the additional accountability to put this book’s ideas into practice. Overall, this is a timely and helpful resource for Christians who want to experience peace from mindfulness while also actively grounding themselves in the Bible.