If you’re thinking that meditating for Christians is a bad thing, allow me to convince you otherwise.
Christian meditation, has nothing to do with sitting on the floor with you legs crossed humming “ohm” as eastern meditation practitioners do. Think of Christian meditation as something you would put along side words like rumination, reflection, introspection and contemplation.
Rumination is the act of pondering or musing on something.
Reflection is a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
Introspection is the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
Contemplation is fixing your thoughts on something; careful consideration.
There is a word associated with contemplation that give this word even deeper meaning and that is the word prospect. To prospect means to search or explore (a region), as for gold.
Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov, a rabbinic scholar, lecturer and author says, of the purpose of Jewish mediation is to have our beliefs,
“intellectualized, internalized, and integrated into one’s actions”
This is what Christian meditation is about, it is mining the scriptures and allowing the Holy Spirit to deliver gold.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at the scripture themselves and see what they say about meditating on God’s word.
Meditation in the Old Testament
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
machinations – a plot or scheme, musical rhythm (Harley Davidson)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse
to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder — imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character] Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Isaiah 26:3 AMP
whose mind is steadfast = of what is framed in the mind
Meditation in the New Testament
What Paul thought about meditating on the Lord
“The unexamined life is not worth living” – attributed to Socrates
Whereas the Jewish form of meditation was on God and His Word, the Greek used meditation to find answers within one’s self, or humanism.
The Apostle Paul says of where our thoughts,
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
think on these things
logízomai (the root of the English terms “logic, logical“) – properly, compute, “take into account”; reckon (come to a “bottom-line”), i.e. reason to a logical conclusion (decision).
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2
Set your mind
phronéō (from 5424 /phrḗn, “the midriff or diaphragm; the parts around the heart,” J. Thayer) – properly, regulate (moderate) from within, as inner-perspective (insight) shows itself in corresponding, outward behavior.
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
peirázō /peíra, The word means either test or tempt, and whether the word is used in a positive or negative context depends on the context of the scripture it’s being used in.
There used to be a commercial where they would take paper towels and wet them and then place and item on them test how strong they were in comparison to another brand. Spiritual testing determines the strength of your belief in scripture, when weighted with scripture.
Scripture tests the integrity of our beliefs. The test is to determine the core building blocks of our faith. Faith in Christ or faith in self.
Examine yourself (what is real)
…Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Each one must examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.… I Corinthians 11:27-29
in an unworthy manner vs 27
anáksios (from 303 /aná, “up to the top” and 514 /áksios, “worth, as it corresponds to real value”) – properly, tested and found wanting, i.e. not equal to the task; unworthy (unfit, inappropriate), falling short of what God says is valuable – (literally) “lacking a correspondence to real value.”
Examine yourself vs 28
dokimázō (from /dókimos, “approved”) – properly, to try (test) to show something is acceptable (real, approved);put to the test to reveal what is good (genuine)
Paul is challenging the Corinthians to examine the authenticity of their faith or their motives for partaking. Are they practicing faith out of a good and pure heart or are they practicing faith out of ritual, peer pressure or gluttony (irreverence) They are being asked to determine if their faith is acceptable enough to eat and drink the the Body of Christ.
Diamond experts offer several ways to test whether a diamond is real
The water test asks you to drop single diamond in a glass of water and if it float, it’s not a real diamond.
The UV test asks you place your diamond under a blacklight, most diamonds will emit a blue-colored glow but not all of them. If the diamond puts off a greenish, grey, yellow florescent glow, it is not a real diamond.
The fire test is where you heat up your stone with a lighter for 3-40 seconds and then drop it in cold water. If it’s a fake, it will shatter because “weaker materials will not be able to handle the rate at which it expands and then contracts due to the heat of the fire.”
There are other tests, but I think you get the point. When testing your faith, it is not tested againt other people’s faith but again scripture itself.
Placing your scripture on even your wettest beliefs, should hold. If the paper towel does not hold, we go back and ask, “where did my beliefs come up short when tested with scripture?”
What Jesus think about our thoughts
Jesus rebukes Peter
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Mark 8:33 NIV
Jesus uses the same word Paul does, phronéō , to call Peter out to say, “you do not have the inner perspective I have”
Peter is seen here trying to save Jesus from his fate, the cross. Peter again tries to save Jesus in the garden with a sword. Finally, we see Peter trying to save himself, warming himself by the fire and being accused of following Jesus.
It wasn’t until Jesus restored him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit that his inner perspective started to change.
How do we gain the inner perspective Jesus has? Thinking, meditating, and praying on scripture.
Practice: Lectio Devina
If you want a powerful way to practice meditating on scripture, here’s a simple outline of a spiritual practice called Lectio Devina.
Lectio Devina is a monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s word.
Lectio Devina doesn’t treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living word
Here’s the breakdown,
Prayer: Expanded Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Lectio (Read 3x)
What are the applications of this verse?
What are the implications of this verse? (if this, then that)
What must change/stay the same?
Pray what you’ve learned back to God.
Be thankful for what God has revealed.
Be aware of your next steps
Be ready for open doors of opportunity
Create open doors of opportunity
If you are new to meditation, Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov offers this advice,
“For the beginner, a good place to start would be to decide that before one prays one should sit quietly for a few moments and “know before whom you stand.”
“know before whom you stand”
This realization alone should send a shiver down your spine, change your demeanor (and possibly your prayer position) and bring a focused attention on The One to whom you are praying.