The primary objective of reading and meditating on the bible is for transformation rather than for information. Unfortunately there is much teaching on bible study but not on bible meditation to help us transform our lives and to gain a heart of wisdom. We are encouraged to read and memorise biblical verses but not how to think about the verses we have read and to apply them in our lives. Edward De Bono has described 6 thinking hats to put our thinking into action. He created a useful framework of To/LoPoSo/Go as a thinking skill. Christians need to learn thinking skills and it is important to recognise the very important difference between “Christian thinking” and “non-Christian” thinking.
The difference lies in what we are thinking about and why we are thinking about them. As Christians, we are called to have the mind of Christ and to be dependent on God and not on our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world. The values and beliefs of the world are rooted in materialistic and selfish desires rather than the will of God. Worldy thinking is focussed on how we can be successful in this world and how to win friends and be happy.
The apostle James has warned us that faith without action is dead. To have a living faith, we need to apply scriptural truths in our lives. Towards this end Edward De Bono’s To/LoPoSo/Go, a 5 stage thinking structure, and the 6 thinking hats can be used to provide a framework for meditation on the bible. I have called this the “CROSS” lens.
The “CROSS” lens is an acronym for 5 stages in biblical meditation. The first stage, “C”, is to be connected with the Holy Spirit through a time of silent prayer or to use the breath prayer (see reflection on Spiritual Ventilation on 13th July 2013). This is wearing the “blue” hat to draw out attention to the sky and our need to come before the throne of God’s grace. It is the “To Where…are you going” stage in Edward De Bono To/LoPoSo/Go 5 stage thinking structure. It is important to spend time to wait on the Lord and seek His aims, goals and objectives for our lives.
The second stage, “R”, is the reading of the biblical text. We take note of what the text is saying to us and our thoughts about the biblical passage. It is the “Lo and Behold” stage as we read God’s Word for information. We wear the “white” hat – a time of digesting the information that we have read.
The third stage, “O”, is to open our minds to the Holy Spirit to hear what God is saying to us. This is the “Po – possibilities” stage as we meditate on the thoughts arising from what we have read. To listen to God’s voice more clearly, we need to recognise the time of life we are in.
We may be in the “sunrise” of our lives when we are feeling good, doing good and everything in life is good. At such times, we need to put on the “red” hat – to submit our hearts to the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit. We need to burn away our pride, greed and lust. The lesson from King David is a warning of how pride, greed and lust can lead us to commit sins that we never imagine we will commit, in the good times of our lives. We can use the red hat to see God’s commandments and warnings to lead us out of temptation and deliver us from evil. In our good times, we can look for biblical verses to help us give thanks and to bear the fruit of love, joy and peace in our lives.
We may be in the “noonday” of our lives when we are feeling stressed by the “heat” of the pressures of life. We may be discouraged, angry, envious, jealous or bored. In such times we can put on the “yellow” hat to exchange our problems for Christ’s burden which is easy. We can take off the yoke of the world and put on the yoke of Christ which is light. With the yellow hat, we can look for any encouragement or new insights in scripture passage that we have read. It may be a time for us to bear the fruit of patience, kindness and goodness. We can look for biblical verses to remind us of God's Providence so that we can pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”
We may be in the dark nights of our souls, when we need to put on the “black” hat to draw close to the Light of Christ. God may feel far away and we may feel forsaken by our loved ones. At such times we need to pray for wisdom to see God’s promises in His Word which are beacons of light to lead us out of darkness. It is a time when we need to remember that God may be pruning us to bear the fruit of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is a time to seek God’s word to help us experience His forgiveness and to forgive others. We can meditate on the biblical passage to find the power to pray, “Forgive us our sins so that we may forgive those who sin against us.”
The fourth stage, “S” is the surrender of our heart as we seek to obey and put into practice what God has shown us in our devotional reading. This is the “So What” stage. It is changing our red, yellow or black hats into the “green” hat as our commitment to put into practice the truths that God has shown us in our meditation on His Word.
The fifth stage, the second “S,” is seeking to walk by the Spirit. We end our reflection with a prayer that God’s Word will bear fruit in our lives. This is the “Go…….Let’s go into action” stage as we commit our plans to God and thank Him for His amazing grace to help us fulfil our heart’s desire so that we will grow in love and in the joy of living in God's Kingdom in the here and now.