Meditate on That
The Psalms – beautiful in their song and timeless in their truth. In the first few words of this book, we learn an enduring lesson:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)
Somewhere along the way, some of us lost perspective on the term meditation, as it morphed into devotionals and in some circles, Christian “quiet time.” Perhaps Eastern culture taught us meditation meant sitting in the lotus position and emptying our mind, and so we had to come up with a new word for it.
I get that, but with a 4 year old at home who does “quiet time” instead of a nap these days, quiet time has lost its meaning, and so I am trying to rediscover meditation as a Christian spiritual discipline.
Meditation is something we see throughout Scripture. Subjects of the Bible in both the Old and New Testament meditated to commune with God. Jesus is no exception and meditated often, and we see that he passed that lesson onto the Apostles (see Acts 10, for example).
Put simply, meditation is quieting yourself, your life, and your thoughts so that you can be in God’s presence.
At times, it will involve hearing God. And still other times, it may be simply marveling at his creation. It could and should involve an obedience to Jesus, without legalism.
There are many ways to practice Christian meditation – meditating on a verse or story of Scripture, pouring out onto God so that he can fill you back up, contemplating a specific circumstance in your life while trying to discern God’s direction for you. Undoubtedly, there are countless others.
The real issue for us is likely not what meditation is or what word or phrase we should use to describe it, nor is it who did it in the Scripture and how should we do it today. No, those are all easily answered.
The real issue is making space in your life – something I recently heard a Pastor call breathing room. A time when you’re not checking any boxes whatsoever – whether they be spiritual, family or work.
My advice to start, if you’re not already practicing meditation, is to start small. Keep it simple. Find a time when you know you won’t be disturbed. Pick your favorite verse or story or nothing at all. Forget where your phone is and sit. And meditate. Ponder God, and don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Don’t worry if your first attempt doesn’t yield images of winning Mega Millions numbers or that one profound truth you’ve been waiting for your whole life. Just be quiet. And listen. And keep meditating.
Steve Brischke is part of the Vista men’s Ministry team and helps lead the Friday morning Bible study. Feel free to join us at the Vista|Men Bible Study, where we are currently studying Spiritual Disciplines, including meditation.