When we meditate we focus our thoughts on a certain issue; we run over in our minds things associated with that issue. There is so much busyness and noise in our world today that we seem to have little opportunity to settle our thoughts and ponder upon an issue. Meditation seems to be a lost art. However, as we look at Scripture we see that meditation was a key part of the life of the godly. Accordingly, David says they speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works (Ps. 145:5). And Asaph says I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. (Ps 77:12). The word also comes to Joshua Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Jos 1:8). Clearly then meditation should be a part of the life of the godly.
There are two things we need to establish first of all:
- True meditation. There is a meditation which is associated with certain religions which involves emptying your mind so that you might be filled with certain spiritual experiences. True Christian mediation does not involve emptying your mind, but rather involves filling your mind with what is good. As Paul says to the Philippians whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Phil 4:8).
- Natural meditation. When we do get space in our lives we are all prone to meditate. The problem is that naturally our mediation is upon bad things. We are like the people of Noah’s day of whom it is said that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Ge 6:5b). Or like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day: Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbour wicked thoughts? (Jer 4:14).
Naturally then our minds are filled with rotten material which does not lead to God glorifying thinking, but rather the reverse. However, the Christian has been born again and we have had our minds renewed so that we can now start to think in a godly way. However, this does not happen automatically. What we have to do is to take action to fill our minds with good things. Our Lord says: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Lu 6:45). The primary means through which we store good things in our hearts is through the study of the Word of God. We should all be diligent to hide God’s Word in our hearts. We should read it everyday. We should memorise parts of it. Three things that are vital in making sure we have good material stores away in our minds are:-
- Attendance at church to hear God’s Word.
- Christian fellowship where we can share God’s dealings with us.
- Singing wholesome Bible-based songs.
With good things stored in our minds we can be like cows in the meadow who, having gathered the food in their stomachs, then lie down and chew the cud. Meditating is chewing the cud on what we have gathered into our beings.
We need also, though, to be careful that we guard our minds against bad material getting in there. What we read, what we look at and what we listen to can be so destructive to the formation of a godly mind. Images from the internet or from the TV can poison your mind. Let us be careful what we watch. Perhaps this is the reason why many of us have such little knowledge of intimacy with God. Remember the call of Romans 12:2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
With our minds well-stocked we can expect to meditate well. The focus of our meditation is the Word of God. The Psalmist says of the godly man his delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Ps 1:2). Above all the godly man, as he meditates, fulfils the injunction to Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10a). Meditation is, in a sense, bringing that which is known to be of God into His presence. Essentially, it merges with the practice of prayer and worship. Therein we focus our minds upon God’s greatness, His salvation, His character, His workings in the world, the beauties of His Son and the wonders of His blessings. As a result we find our delight in the Lord and He is praised.
When we read of this kind of experience most of us would confess that our minds wander to easily. The natural inclinations of our minds soon take over. There are two issues here:-
Decent things: There is a difference between the good and the excellent. We have decent things on our minds, but do we have the excellent things? As quoted, Paul in Phil. 4:8 prompts us to go for the excellent thing and that points us to the great things of our God.
Sinful things: when sinful things come into our minds we need to take action. We need to do something of the cutting off that our LORD referred to in Mark 9:43-48. We then need to focus on good things.
As we have gone through this issue of meditation we need to realise that this is not just for those who are going for higher degrees in spirituality. No! It is for all of us. We all need to take time to mediate aright. Remember the saying that ‘a thought leads to a word, leads to an action, leads to a habit, leads to a character, leads to a destiny, leads to an eternity.’
Accordingly, we need to be diligent and even aggressive in giving ourselves to meditation. Paul urges us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5b). Let us then similarly think about how we can make our lives productive in this area. Everybody’s lifestyle is different. But perhaps more of us need to think about taking time out to stop and meditate on our God and His ways. Most of us are busy though and so let us seek every opportunity to meditate on the LORD and His word and thereby be blessed.
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of May 2012)