The forgotten and Misunderstood Need for Meditation
What do you picture in your mind when you think of someone meditating? If you’re like me, for a long time, I thought of meditation as someone sitting on the floor wearing a tie-dyed shirt with their legs crossed saying “hmmmmm” over and over. It’s clear why many of us would have that same understanding of what mediation is. We have all seen pictures, movies, or television shows where people where sitting around “meditating” to search for inner peace though some type of far eastern religious experience. But what about real Biblical meditation? What is it? Is it something we should be doing as Christians? And if it is, how do we do it?
The first thing we need to do is clear our mind of what Hollywood and all the self help gurus of the last forty years have told us about what meditation is, and rediscover the true definition of the term. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines mediation simply as “to plan” and “to think deeply” (2003, Fourth Edition, pg. 402). When you think about it, we all meditate some on a daily basis. Whenever we spend time thinking about a specific topic, we are meditating. It’s just focused thinking.
Let’s now consider the need for meditation regarding spiritual matters. We all meditate to some degree, even though we may not notice or recognize when we are doing it. We meditate daily on our hobbies, leisure activities, financial situations, and work; but how much time do we spend on spiritual matters? Let’s see what the Bible says about the need to meditate.
Listen to what the apostle Paul exhorted the Christians to do in Philippi. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8,9). The King James Version of the Bible translates the phrase “meditate on these things” as “think on these things”. Paul was telling them, and is telling us, that we need to spend time focusing on the great characteristics of the kingdom of God. You may also notice that all of the attributes Paul mentioned are positive ones. Remember the proverb that says, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). We are what we think about.
We have to be careful what we spend our time thinking about. According to the proverb, if we spend all of our time thinking about money, then we will be materialistic. If we think only of our self-image, then we will be self absorbed and prideful. But, if we spend our time meditating on spiritual things, then we will become spiritual people. Paul wrote the letter of First Timothy to exhort Timothy to stay in the faith, and do the work of an evangelist. He spoke about the doctrine and Word of God. He then told Timothy to “meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:15,16). This advise to Timothy applies to us as well. We must meditate on the truths we learn from God’s Word. Remember, we are what we think about. Meditating on God’ Word will lead to a life of living by God’s Word. -Ed