Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Because we live in such a busy and active world, most of us don’t think too much about this word meditation.
Due to the stresses and strains of modern living—if not the epidemic nature of anxiety itself—people are turning more and more to Eastern religions to learn various techniques of meditation, involving disciplined periods of silence, stillness and bodily relaxation. But, isn’t it a waste of precious time to sit and think? No, not at all.
Meditation and mindfulness have become quite popular in recent years—yet most people can’t really define meditation, understand its purpose, or appreciate what meditation is good for. It’s usually all about relaxation, focus and awareness of what’s going on inside you and circumstances you face. But it’s a very general topic open to all sorts of interpretation. You can close your eyes to meditate if you wish but it’s not necessary.
By becoming introspective and listening to our own thoughts, we allow ourselves space to set aside the most meaningful thoughts and give them the time they deserve. Unfortunately, reflection and deep thought in a quiet place is a thing of the past for many people. What a shame.
Someone has said meditation is, “Making words into thoughts and thoughts into actions. It is mental planning ahead with definite action in mind for accomplishing a job”.
Practise Christian Meditation
I believe the principle of Christian meditation is the best way to live your life with calmness and purpose. And one of the most helpful verses in the Bible to think about—to reflect on—is Psalm 46:10 when God says to us, “Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God” (The Voice). So helpful to us to even repeat these beautiful words because we live in chaotic times.
We need to be careful—sometimes our own thoughts can lead us into a deep, dark, and endless pit. There seems to be so much bad and destructive news that have the potential to drag us down and cause inner disruption to daily life. We need divine help and God wants to help us to be at peace and have a purpose in life. Nothing is perfect in this life of course—but it’s beneficial to dig a bit deeper into the Christian faith.
Popular Christian author J. I. Packer has said, “Meditation is not giving free rein to your imagination, nor is it reading your Bible for beautiful thoughts. Meditation is a discipline.” And that is spot on. If you want to meditate in an effective manner, it doesn’t happen in five minutes. It takes time and commitment to make it work.
Get alone with God’s thoughts. There is danger in rummaging through waste and barren desert thoughts that can be labeled daydreaming or worse. Don’t meditate upon yourself but dwell upon God—seek him in your inner thought life.
How to Meditate in the Word of God
There is always danger in meditating upon problems. Develop the habit of reflection upon the Word of God and therein find the answers to your problems. You say, I am quite unused to meditate. How shall I begin? Deal gently with yourself at first. Select your subject—some passage from the Bible. Then fix the time you choose to give, say, five minutes at a time. Begin, and think aloud. It may seem strange to start with, but persevere.
I know it’s not easy—our lives today are unbelievably distracted. We are experts at multi-tasking, surfing, and skimming, but it is harder than ever to meditate. If possible, find a consistent time, place, and plan. Then read slowly and carefully. Reread and reread. Read out loud—which is implied in the Hebrew word for ‘meditation’ in Psalm 1:2. Read prayerfully. Read with a pen in hand. Memorise texts that you read. Read with other people and talk about what you see. Study a book of the Bible with a good commentary. Pray about a plan for Bible meditation this year, and talk about your plan with a Christian friend.
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1:2 – NLT)
In radio terms, spending time with God in meditation is “turning the dial until we tune in to God’s wavelength—then we get the message” (Selwyn Hughes). I like that quote. Christian meditation is about learning ways of learning to trust the God who is present in all things and to all things. It’s about every day life—the simple tasks we do can be an act of worship to the God who loves us so much.
My favourite writer is the late Selwyn Hughes. Read any of his articles or books and you wont be disappointed. But one time he quoted from Pascal, the famous French Christian philosopher who said, “Nearly all the ills of life spring from this simple source that we are not able to sit still in a room.”
Sitting down for 20 minutes each day, meditating on God’s word will stimulate and bring your thinking to life. May that happen to you.