Total Life Blog   |  Meditation

Meditation

Meditation.  The word conjures up images of a yogi on a mountaintop, his legs crossed and his eyes closed, serenely letting the world go by without him.  However, meditation is a practice frequently mentioned in the Bible as a way to draw closer to God.   In Joshua 1:8, God commands, “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.”  In Psalm 1:2, the blessed man “delights” in God’s word “…and on His law he meditates day and night.”  Does this mean that God expects us to drop out of our lives and climb a mountain like the yogi?  Absolutely not.  Then how do we follow His command and find His blessing in this area?

First things first: what exactly is meditation?  In Eastern religions it involves clearing the mind of all thought in an attempt to rise above the self and the physical world.  In Christianity, it’s another thing entirely.  Christian meditation is focusing on God’s Word, His creation, and His works in order to hear what He is saying about who He is and who we are in relationship to Him.  In his classic work Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster refers to meditation as “contemplative prayer” and defines it as “the ability to hear God’s voice and obey His word.”  The Bible is God’s word; it’s His voice.  It has much more to offer than what we can absorb from a quick reading of a chapter in the morning as we drink our coffee.  God wants to speak to us through His Word and that requires us to think about it and to listen to Him as He tells us what it means for us.

Now I can hear all of you out there thinking the same thing:  when do I have time to sit and listen to God?  I read that quick chapter in the morning over coffee because that’s the only time I have.  I hear you all loud and clear because that was exactly my own thought when I first started exploring the topic.  We don’t have to be biblical scholars and we don’t have to give up hours of sleep or time with our families to start a practice of meditation.  The key is to get creative.

So you read that chapter over coffee this morning.  Did anything jump out when you read it?  Even one or two verses?  Chances are that the Holy Spirit was sending you a message from God that there’s something He wants to tell you about that passage.  So now you’re in the shower, getting dressed, and putting on your makeup.  Where does your mind go?  Instead of stressing about the upcoming meeting or worrying about the parent-teacher conference, take that time to focus on what you read and ask God to speak to you.  Another idea is the morning commute.  Instead of listening to the radio, try listening to God.  We don’t have to stop what we’re doing to meditate, what we need is to focus our minds.  Brother Lawrence was a great example of this.  As a monk in the 17th century, he learned to pray and meditate throughout the day as he did his work in the monastery kitchen so that “my set times of prayer are not different from other times of the day.”  Now that’s not something that will happen on day one, but try directing your mind to God during ten minutes of activity a day while you complete your task.  Think about a passage of scripture and ask Him to open it up to you or really look at something in His creation and praise Him for it.  Above all, don’t forget to listen as well as speak.  Meditation is a conversation.  Try this for a month.  You may find yourself on an amazing journey to a closer life with Him.

 

Author: Kristina Eberly

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