God's Battle Plan for the Mind

Status
Not open for further replies.

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Saxton, David. W. (2015) God’s Battle Plan for the Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books. 145p.

This book is a practical and insightful guide on how to scripturally meditate in the best Puritan tradition. Saxton introduces the subject by explaining why we need biblical meditation. It is necessary for a growing relationship with God, provides comfort in trials by applying scriptural truth to the mind and heart, and digests God’s word into one’s own life and experience.

This is followed by a chapter on unbiblical forms of meditation. This warning is timely because there are spiritual dangers lurking for the undiscerning – Roman Catholic and other forms of mysticism, contemplative prayer, and meditation in the eastern religion tradition. All unbiblical forms of meditation are dangerous because they are not anchored in the truth of the scriptures, and also neglect the fact that the “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9 NASB). Because of the sinful tendency of our hearts to self-deception, we must have a word-centred approach to meditation – ground our meditations in the firm anchor of the word of God.

Saxton has a very insightful chapter on how both the Bible and the Puritans define meditation. In the Old Testament, meditation is presented as the spiritual activity of the heart and mind that characterises a God fearing saint. One delights in the things of God. In the New Testament, terms such as dwelling (Phil 4:8), considering (Heb 12:3) and remembering (Rev 2:5) remind the believer that it is important to have a godly renewal of the mind.

The book moves on to a practical chapter – how to practice meditation. Practical guidance is given on the place and best time to meditate. But the most important thing here is prayer, reading the scriptures then meditating on them. It is helpful to choose a verse or phrase and carefully reflect on it. One must make godly resolutions and pray. The Puritans believed that prayer fastens meditation upon the soul.

The Puritans were strong on choosing subjects for meditation (see for example Thomas Watson’s ‘A Christian on the Mount’). Saxton’s book suggests one meditates on sin, God and eternity. It is especially important to choose subjects that help ones particular spiritual state. The Christian must be balanced though and avoid a particular devotional or theological hobby horse.​

A couple of chapters explain why meditation is important for sanctification. It helps the believer redeem the time, grow in spiritual maturity, grow in love for the Lord, and increase a resolve to fight sin. It also gives comfort in affliction and creates a life of joy, thankfulness and love.

A warning is given about the enemies of meditation. This book is right up to date because a warning is given about the tendency of modern technology to distract. Technology is a blessing in its place, but there is a season to turn off the gadget and have a disciplined and focused mind. A warning is also given about the danger of worldliness. The best cure for worldliness is to remember that this world is fleeting, and it is the unseen things that are eternal (2 Cor 4:18).

Finally, one is encouraged to persevere in the discipline. The scripture reminds us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim 4:7). Anything that is worthwhile takes effort. Meditation is a duty and also a privilege.

Although this work references many Puritan works, I was a little disappointed it did not reference John Owen’s excellent book on meditation, “Spiritual Mindedness” [published by Banner of Truth]. That aside it is a very helpful book. It is ideal for both the young Christian and the mature believer. May it be used to encourage many to become mighty in the scriptures.​
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you for this great review, Stephen! Meditation is a Christian duty I have neglected until recently, as the Lord has drawn my attention and I have begun to understand and ponder it more. Well, I see that without practicing it I have been missing a spiritual exercise that will bring great benefit and blessing, and be a means to sanctification. I bought this a couple of weeks ago on Audible with my monthly credit, and am looking forward to listening. (After finishing "The Bruised Reed.")
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The content and form certainly mimics Puritan literature, but I felt it needed more editing.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
(After finishing "The Bruised Reed.")
Permit me to link my review on meditation with your planned reading of the Bruised Reed. Martyn Lloyd- Jones once said of Richard Sibbes "His books The Bruised Reed and The Soul's Conflict quietened, soothed, comforted, encouraged and healed me." In other words Sibbes two books are very edifying for meditation on weighty truths. The Soul's Conflict goes nicely with the Bruised Reed.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top