What is meditation?
How is Christian meditation different from the world’s promotion of meditation?
Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline, says, “Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word.” Do you agree with that?
Foster’s remark reminds me of James 1:22-25. To me, meditation makes our relationship with God a three pronged approach. It connects head knowledge, emotions, and act of the will. James 1:25 says that we are to remember what we’ve read well enough that we will then act on it. Think James’ choice of the words, “look intently.” Looking intently at Scripture involves an intentional pursuit of understanding Scripture well enough that we can equip ourselves to do what God asks us to do. That’s the meditation process.
Later Foster says, “Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind; Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind.” Christian mediation encourages us to get off by ourselves, away from distractions, and allows us to read God’s Word on our own, process what we’re learning about God and determine how we will apply what we’ve learned to our particular life situation.
Consider these Bible verses.
2 Timothy 2:3-7 (specifically v. 7)
What do you learn about meditation from these verses?
What do they tell us we are supposed to meditate on?
What other Bible verses can you suggest that encourages us to learn about God and His Word?’
To find out more Bible verses on mediation, do a word search on these words:
According to Foster, meditation can have various meanings. Let’s look at each of these:
Ruminate on God’s Word
Choose one of the Scriptures below. Find your special “alone” spot and spend five minutes about that particular passage of Scripture. Record your discoveries in a notebook.
Psalm 119:101, 102
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Check out 2 Timothy 2:3-7. Hone in on verse 7. How does God give us insight into what His Word says?
When I study Scripture, I like to think about it in three ways:
- What does this Scripture say?
- What does it mean to me?
- What will I do about it?
Review the verse you have selected and use this process to mull over the meaning of the passage.
Reflect on God’s Works
Read Psalm 19:1-6. Take a walk, browse a nature magazine or a National Geographic, or download pictures of outer space from the Internet. Note the intricate detail. Mull over how that bit of nature came to be. Thank God for His ability to create such wonderful things.
Remember God’s Deeds
Set aside five minutes out of your day. Find a pleasant spot. Think about something God has done, either through a story you read in the Bible or something that has happened in your own life. How was God a part of the story? What did He do? How would the situation have turned out differently if God were not involved? Thank God for His part in the resolution of the story.
Respond to God’s guidance
Select ONE problem or dilemma you currently face. Spend five minutes in your alone spot. Lay the problem before the Lord. Read Proverbs 2:1 and James 1:5,6. Ask God for wisdom in knowing how to handle the situation. Write down the thoughts that come to you.
The tricky part of listening to God’s voice is this: When thoughts enter your head, whose voice is it? God’s, the enemy, or your own desires? How can you know?
Ask God to remind you of Bible verses that would give you guidance in this situation. Write those down and look them up. Read the verses in context (read the surrounding verses) to make sure you are interpreting and applying them correctly. If you still feel at a loss, seek counsel from a more mature Christian.
How did you do?
What new things did you learn about God through your time of meditation? What gems did you find in Scripture? How did you come to a new understanding about the problems and dilemmas you currently face? Share with us in a comment or connect with me privately. May the Lord continue to bless the time you spend time in meditation on His Word and His Ways.