When most people think of meditation, Middle Eastern and New Age philosophy come to mind. Meditation has become thought of as someone sitting on a pillow, with their eyes closed, for a selected length of time. It is really unfortunate.
Christians are called to meditate, however not in those ways. God tells us to meditate on His Word. We see His people doing so throughout the Bible. Mediation is biblical! We must learn to do as David did (Psalm 1), meditate day and night.
There is a big difference between what the world calls meditation, and what the Bible calls meditation.
Worldly meditation is to ‘calm’ the mind of the meditator, by focusing on their breathing and or a sound. The goal is to be in the ‘now.’ Thoughts are to be dismissed if recognized. The person is to be in a space where the brain is clear of thoughts. They are to continue to bring the attention back to the body, not the mind. It is very ‘body’ centered.
Biblical meditation is completely different. As Christians, we are to actually think! That is the core of meditation for us. We are to pick a verse or maybe an attribute of God and think deeply on it. The goal is to deliberately set our minds on the Word. We are searching for more treasures than we see at first glance. We are seeking to hide His Word in our hearts. We do this by thinking! It is ‘thought’ centered.
There are many reasons to meditate. One main reason is that God tells us to "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither..."
Reading the Bible is something all Christians know to do. Meditating seems to be easily neglected. We need both, just like our body needs both food and digestion.
We can think of reading the Bible or biblical truths as eating. The Bible is our daily bread. We must read to stay spiritually fed. However, how often do we digest? That is what meditation is, for the Christian. Reading is eating, and meditation is digesting the Word of God.
What good is a meal if the body doesn’t benefit from the nutrients? It might’ve tasted good, but it really didn’t offer any real nutrition. This is the same with meditation. When reading the Bible, it ‘tastes good,’ but if we don’t meditate, it never gets digested. Therefore it never actually gets walked out by the believer.
Thomas Brooks made a great point when he wrote, “It is not the person who reads most, but the one who meditates most, that will prove the sweetest, wisest, happiest, and strongest Christian.”
Another writer, John Snyder said, “Without meditation, you will be like a person always looking at food, studying food, and talking about food…but never eating it!"
Both are great ways of illustrating the importance of meditating on the Word of God.
Many people believe reading the Bible first thing in the morning is the best time. We see Jesus doing so! (Mark 1:35) We also read of morning devotions in the psalms. (Psalm 5:3). However, there are no hard and fast rules.
It really depends on the person. I used to say, first thing in the morning hands down! I don’t think that anymore. I do believe praying and setting the heart on God in the morning is very important.
As for reading, I find myself so tired trying to read with a foggy brain. I am just not a morning person! I am much more alert at night. Some people can’t hardly keep their eyes open at night. You should choose a time to quiet yourself before the Lord. It should be when you can give God the best of your focus.
You could look up article after article on methods of biblical meditation. The main key is to think deeply on a chosen verse or topic. Consider the topic of choice from different angles. Carefully consider how you might apply what you are meditating on to your life. Have you been obedient? There may need to be repentance.
Luke 2:19 shows Mary thinking deeply about the circumstances surrounding Christ. “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Meditating involves reflection and a debating in the mind on a truth.
When we meditate on something, it becomes a part of us in a way. As we continue to think about a verse over and over again, it will naturally become learned. We will then be hiding the Word in our hearts. When we mediate “We think on something, and we think about it again,” is what I once heard.
I am a practical girl! I usually need examples. As I mentioned, you could search and find tons of ‘methods.’ I am new to deliberate biblical meditation, unfortunately. However, I will share a short example.
For one, it should be specific! You wouldn’t want to meditate on the subject of the ‘whole gospel,’ it’s too broad. Let’s pick a familiar verse.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1.
He is my shepherd. What is a shepherd? A person who takes care of their sheep. He tends to their needs, leading them and feeding them.
How does this apply to me? Well, I don’t have to lead myself. I know that today, God will lead me and take care of me. I don’t have to worry about my needs.
What about sheep? What are their characteristics? Sheep are not very smart animals. They wander easily. The Shepherd has to keep careful watch over them, or else they will get lost.
How does this apply to me? I am prone to wander. I am not as smart as I think I am. He knows all things and I am limited in understanding. I must trust the shepherd's leading...even when I don't understand.
Who is my shepherd? The Lord! He Who leads me is the Lord, who created the world. He is Ruler. So, this Lord will take care of my needs and carefully watches me so that I don’t wander into danger.
I shall not want…why? It’s clear that all of my needs are taken care of by the Lord of all, my Shepherd. I will be given everything I need.
How has this truth affected me in the past? I see how He has led me in the past, though I didn’t always acknowledge it. I can praise Him for leading me when I didn’t know it.
How will this truth affect me in the future? I can place my hope in the fact that The Lord is my Shepherd. There is comfort and security in this truth. This verse has become mine!
You could think of that verse for much longer, but you see the point. You are asking questions, pondering, debating and digesting biblical truths.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
God wants us to not just read the Bible, but it is to be written on our hearts. It should be hidden in us. Then, we will begin to see fruit in our lives. We will start delighting in His Word. His Word will not just be the Bible, it will be ‘ours!’
As I have said, I am new to the practice of deliberate meditation. However, I am seeing great changes in my heart just from practicing it recently.
Do you think this may be something you could add to your quiet time? I hope you can! There are so many treasures you will find when you start digging into His Word.
If you are up for it, pick a truth to meditate on this week.
Here are some examples: God is King, Christ is the Great High Priest, God is ever-present, Christ is the Bridegroom, God is patient. You can choose your own. Set a time to meditate, even if it is only 5 minutes.
Share with us what you picked, in the comments!
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