Saturday, March 27, 2010

Good Meditation

Some years ago, if you mentioned the word 'meditation', some Christians would give you a funny look. The term was popular with New Age types who were referring to transcendental meditation (TM) that was much discussed in the popular culture, and which emanated from Eastern religion. In that kind of meditation, one was supposed to mutter the name of a god over and over. It is pure idolatry and clearly forbidden by the Word of God.

But here I want to talk about the value of Christian meditation and why all Christians can and should practice it. Let's see what the Word has to say about meditation.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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." (Joshua 1:8)

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3)

These two passages are very similar. They both teach the godly person that they should meditate on the Law of the Lord. What does 'meditate' mean here? It means to 'mutter' according to my Hebrew Lexicon. In other words, say something over and over (quietly) and continue to think about it. Now that might not sound to us as something that would be very useful, but we read in both these passages about the fruit that such meditation will bring. The passage in Joshua indicates that meditation will help one to be a 'doer of the Word' (like James says) and it will make you a successful believer. Do we not want to be successful in our Christian lives? The passage in psalms says the same thing. Meditation brings success and prosperity in our lives.

What do we meditate on? The Law of the Lord (Torah - the first five books of the OT)? That's what it says, but I think that Christians, who are not under the Law (Torah), should meditate on any part of God's Word, especially the New Testament.

We can meditate on the whole Bible, but we can meditate upon one verse or several verses at a time. What happens when we do this? The Spirit of God begins to reveal the meaning to us and open up our spirits to what God is saying. How is this? Jesus said that His words are spirit and life. As we meditate upon the Word, it becomes a revelation to us. Too much of the time we are trying to figure out in our heads what it means. That's how we get our various theologies and separate into different camps. We can learn much by reading and studying the Bible, but we need to meditate upon the Word and let the Spirit make it a reality in our lives. He is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

I have known Christians who could barely read and write and yet they had a deep knowledge of God and the Bible because they meditated upon the Word. They were God-taught. I have heard the same insights from them that I have heard from Bible scholars who came to their conclusions after years of study. I appreciate the work of Bible scholars, but I know that the Spirit who lives in me knows the Word far better than they do.

"But the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him." (1 John 2:27) John is not saying that teachers are unnecessary (he was a teacher of the Word), but that we must rely on the Spirit of Truth to teach us the truth. No teacher can lord it over us.

An Easy and Effective Way to Meditate: Some use meditation extensively and do actually meditate on the Word at every possible moment. I admire that but I found that my mind tended to wander after a minute or two. Recently, however, the Lord led me to read a certain passage once a day for many consecutive days. I do not try to wrest the meaning from it and often I already have a good understanding of it in my head. But whether I understand the passage or not, I just read it over carefully, just once a day, until the Spirit brings me revelation regarding it. I must say that this works wonderfully. It has borne great fruit. Try it. It's easy.

So many Christians do not read their Bibles because they do not understand what they are reading. I encourage you, as a part of your daily devotions, to meditate in this way on the Word. It works.

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