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Christian Meditation: Explained

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Christian Meditation: Is it Christian to Meditate?
Christian meditation is rooted in the Bible. In fact, the Bible commands us to meditate. In Joshua 1:8, God says to meditate on His word day and night so we will obey it. The psalmist says "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2). Actually, the Bible mentions meditate or meditation 20 times.

In the Old Testament there are two primary Hebrew words for meditation: Haga, which means to utter, groan, meditate, or ponder; and Sihach, which means to muse, rehearse in one's mind, or contemplate. These words can also be translated as dwell, diligently consider, and heed.

Christian Meditation: A History
One form of Christian meditation that has been used by believers since at least the fourth century AD is the lectio divina. It has been traditionally used in monastic religious orders and is enjoying a resurgence today. Lectio divina means "sacred reading" and has four stages: lectio (reading), meditatio (discursive meditation), oratio (affective prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). In the lectio (reading) stage, one finds a passage and reads it deliberately. The next stage, meditatio (discursive meditation), is where one ponders the text. In the oratio (effective prayer) stage, one talks to God about the reading, asking Him to reveal the truth. In the final, contemplatio (contemplation) stage, one simply rests in the Lord's presence.

Today, meditation is generally seen as a practice of the New Age movement. This comes primarily from its association with Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation (TM) was developed by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the Hindu religion and is steeped in Hindu philosophy. The "yogi" in the TM founder's name indicates his status in Hinduism. Courts in the US have ruled that TM is not a secular discipline; it is Hindu religion (US District Court, Newark, NJ, on October 29, 1977 and the US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia, PA February 2, 1979).

Christian Meditation: What do Christian Leaders Say?
One important thing the Bible tells us to do is to think about God's Word. Our thoughts determine our behavior and so what we think about is very important. That is why God wants us to think about His Word, or meditate on it. Jim Downing in Meditation (NavPress) says God considers meditation a "vital exercise of the minds of His children."

Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), describes meditation this way: "Meditation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind...if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate" (190). Warren goes on to say, "No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day" (190).

In Satisfy Your Soul (NavPress), Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, "A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God...Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God's Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works...So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and 'chew' the words of Scripture....The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God" (133).

Christian Meditation: How do we do it?
There are three times during the day we can actively turn our minds over to God's Word in Christian Meditation. Just before we fall asleep, we can have God's Word be the last thing that occupies our mind. Upon awaking, we can have God's Word be the first thing to fill our minds to start the day. Finally, we need a specific time each day to be in God's Word so it can speak to us throughout our day.

What should we focus on in Christian meditation? "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8, NASB).

original article: Christian Meditation
 
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Staff Member
I feel moved to add this caution to the above article.

The need to balance what scripture says against what man has translated it on "how" meditation is to be done is most important if one is to prevent being deceived into practices that are unbiblical. In other words, there is a fine line between meditating upon God's Word, for the purposes of seeking understanding, and the "methodology" by which one does this. Failing to heed this caution allows even the learned to begin utilizing mystical practices that have nothing to do with God's Word as an attempt for greater understanding.

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><




 
Loyal
I feel moved to add this caution to the above article.

The need to balance what scripture says against what man has translated it on "how" meditation is to be done is most important if one is to prevent being deceived into practices that are unbiblical. In other words, there is a fine line between meditating upon God's Word, for the purposes of seeking understanding, and the "methodology" by which one does this. Failing to heed this caution allows even the learned to begin utilizing mystical practices that have nothing to do with God's Word as an attempt for greater understanding.

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
I would ditto this caution. And, I would encourage some prayerful and diligent research on the subject of "contemplative prayer" and concerning "Rick Warren" and his teachings (put the word "false" in the research).

Also, the gospel presentation on the "All About" website, following the teaching on "Christian Meditation" is a half-truth gospel absent of the necessity of repentance. It speaks only half the truth of why Jesus died, which is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but which is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We have to remember here that even the demons believe and they shudder. It is not enough to merely believe that Jesus died to free us from judgment and to promise us the hope of heaven when we die. Biblical faith is God-given, and it is God's divine persuasion to us of his divine will and purpose for our lives. When we truly believe in Jesus Christ, the transformation that takes place in our hearts, of the Spirit of God, crucifies us with Christ in death to sin, and it resurrects us with Christ to newness of life to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. This is called being "born again."

To promise people that they are delivered from the punishment of sin and they are guaranteed heaven when they die merely because of human belief that Jesus died to deliver us from hell and to give us heaven when we die, and merely because of some outward confession that Jesus is Lord, is a lie. True faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. If we continue living in sin, we will die in our sins. If we continue living according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we continue to walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (wickedness,sin), while professing to be in fellowship with God, we are liars, and we do not live by the truth. If we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will die in our sins. Yet, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), and if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity. This is what scripture teaches. Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die.

We need to tell people that faith in Jesus Christ means dying with Christ to sin and it means being resurrected with Christ to newness of life (new birth) of the Spirit of God. It means we leave our old lives of sin behind us and we now walk in the Spirit and we follow (obey) Jesus. If we don't tell them the truth, and they think they can just believe Jesus died to free them from hell and to give them heaven when they die, then we have given them a false hope of eternal life with God. We have given them a half-truth gospel which is a lie, and lies give people false hope. I hate lies.
 
Loyal
We can call it meditation or study or something else but it comes down to understanding and doing what Jesus really intended with these words:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." John 6:53

I understand that the flesh to be eaten is a dead carcass like the body of Jesus on the cross until it had been resurrected by the Life giving blod which is the Holy Spirit working in us. That is to say:

Read and/or study the Bible [eat it] and allow it to be quickened (brought to Life) by the Holy Ghost [drink it]:

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." II Cor 3:6
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Sadly, brother it's like the sacrifices of the old testament. They easily set aside what God had jealousy desired for them and shared themselves with what shouldn't have been. They saw nothing wrong with combining god's with the only God.

However, in what you have written you do bring to mind the words of Jeremiah.
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
 
Loyal
Sadly, brother it's like the sacrifices of the old testament. They easily set aside what God had jealousy desired for them and shared themselves with what shouldn't have been. They saw nothing wrong with combining god's with the only God.

However, in what you have written you do bring to mind the words of Jeremiah.
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
Amen, my friend! It is not hard to find it scripture if we have God's help in our search. He purposely says the same things in different ways so that people are hungry and thirsty for righteousness will easily find it. Not everyone has that kind of hunger or thirst.
 

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