December 11, 2013

The Spiritual Disciplines: Meditation

What do you picture when you hear the world meditation?  My first thought is quiet.  Then I think about the mind, something is going on in the quiet of the mind.  One usually meditates on something.  Merriam Webster defines meditation as the act or process of spending time in quiet thought.  That means to meditate we need to make time and quiet in the hustle and bustle of life.  You know, Jesus did this.  Our Lord was in very high demand in his three years of ministry.  But Scripture says he would sometimes withdraw, alone, to a quiet place.  Isn't that neat?  When I think about that I'm humbled.  The Son of God needed to take time to be alone with the Father.  If He needed it, how much more do I!  But how difficult it can be to withdraw and get our brains quiet enough to meditate on Him and His Word.  Difficult or not, it is certainly these quiet, set-apart moments that are the training ground for having hearts and minds that are at peace in the midst of the rest of life.  Meditation transforms.

What does the Bible say about meditation?

The Purpose of Meditation
Pleasing God with the meditations of our hearts (Psalm 19:14 and 104:34)
Transformation by the renewing of the mind  (Rom 12:2)

The Content for Meditation
Knowing the Word helps us to obey  (Josh 1:8)
The present and future, not the past (Isaiah 43:18)
God's law (Psalm 119)
God's works (Psalm 145:5)
Good things (Philip 4:8)
The word of Christ (Colossians 3:16)

The Results of Meditation
A changed you because of greater fellowship with God!  Psalm 1:1-3 

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

I read in an Advent meditation by Tim Keller recently that our definition of blessed is "limp."  What the Hebrew and Greek really point to is that "to be blessed brings you back to full shalom, full human functioning; it makes you everything God meant for you to be.  To be blessed is to be strengthened and repaired in every one of your human capacities, to be utterly transformed."*

If that's what it means, then sign us up to be blessed, right?!  Well, Psalm 1 indicates that one habit of the blessed person is meditation on the law of God.  His thinking is focused on the Lord and His Word.  The result?  He is solid.

He's rooted, flourishing, and strong, because He's walking in God's way, not his own.

I'm a traditionalist, I get up early in the morning for quiet time, when most of the time kids won't interrupt me. (In fact, Brian popped down for a short visit this morning.) But God is available any time and anywhere you find yourself, and He may not have made you a morning person!

How do you, or how can you start to, make time and space for meditation?

Consider picking up a few verses to memorize this week.  Meditate on them.  Let them sink into the recesses of your brain.  Hang them up in a place you'll see them often or write them on a card to keep in  your pocket.  Let the Lord use them to transform your way of thinking and, thus, your way of living.  Foster says we learn to meditate by meditating.  So give it a shot!  This time of year is a wonderful opportunity to meditate on some aspect of the Christmas story, asking God to help you see it with fresh eyes.  God BLESS you as you seek Him!

*p 36 of Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, ed. Nancy Guthrie

1 comment:

  1. Meditation,in the same way as every other control, has a reason.The Bible specifies the accompanying profits of reflecting on Scripture: success and prosperity (Josh. 1:8),fruitfulness (Ps. 1:1-3), wisdom and insight (Ps. 119:98-99), joy (Ps. 63:6), and victory over sin (Ps. 119:11).Although I've encountered the greater part of the profits of contemplating Scripture said above, for me by and by,the most all around beneficial profit by a long shot has been victory over sin.
    ~Kim Wagner.