What is Meditation?
When people think of meditation, they typically think of Eastern meditation, which is more of an emptying of the mind. You think of the person doing yoga sitting cross legged with their hands up trying to empty their mind, and they are emptying their life.
Totally the opposite of Christian meditation.
Christian meditation is that we are going to focus on the truth of God’s Word and allow that to shape our feelings, our emotions, our responses. It’s not a emptying, it is an infilling. Not an infilling of what we believe or what we think, because many times I worry about all kinds of things. I think all kinds of things. I perceive all kinds of things that are wrong, and are not true. Meditating on God’s word helps us to be filled with truth, with power, and with those kind of things.
Don’t let the word meditation challenge you.
We are going to be talking about looking at the scripture in a more deep, real way. Proverbs 7:2-3 is a cry out,
“Guard my words as your most precious possession. Write them down and keep them within your heart.”
God is speaking about the value of His Word. Keep them in your heart. Meditate on these. Know these. Joshua 1:8 also talks about that we are to meditate on the truth of God’s Word every single day that we would obey all of it. If we do that, we will have success.
There is a lot of scriptural reference, particularly in the Old Testament about how important it is for us to meditate. I want to give you a couple of ways to do this to make it very real for you, and practical for you, because it’s not as hard as it might seem.
1. Picture It.
Imagine what it would’ve looked like for Jesus to go into that temple and flip those tables. That’s just not a story in black and white, that is a real event that happened. Picture it, and allow yourself to think more deeply. What would it have been like for Christ, to be Him in that moment? What would it have been like to be the disciples, “what is teacher doing?” Imagine the stress of “what is He doing?” Imagine what it would have been like to be a guard in the temple. “Oh my gosh, this guy has gone crazy. Do we attack him?” Because there were guards there. “What do we do with this man who is very well respected, and he is having this moment where it looks like he is insane?” What would it have been like to have been a Pharisee and thinking “Why he is doing it?” How would it have made them feel?
Picture it and put yourself in the story and I’m telling you, it’s going to unlock all kinds of deeper things. That’s meditating. You are thinking deeply about that scripture.
2. Read and emphasize different words.
For instance, a great example of scripture is found in the book of Philippians. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Most of you know that. Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But taking some time to emphasizing each word is powerful.
I! I! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Understanding and personalizing this passage.
I can! It’s not I might, I should, I would, but I can. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And then it’s I can do. Emphasizing the action.
I can take you through every single word, but if you take a moment and emphasize those words, there is deep meaning in every single word of a phrase like that. One verse of scripture. By taking time you can seriously chew on that for several minutes, at least five to ten minutes, and come away feeling “Wow”, now I feel like I understand. It’s because you’ve chewed on it in a more meaningful way. That’s what meditation is all about.
3. Paraphrase Scriptures. (In other words, I rewrite them in my own words.)
Especially when I’m reading Paul. Paul is very theologically intricate sometimes. He will say things and it’s really good, but I leave it asking questions like “What does he mean?” So I’ll paraphrase and give him the southernized version. I do that for you guys at Ignite a lot. If he was southern, this is what he would say. It helps me understand it.
4. Put Your Name in it.
Most famously, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” And you’ve probably have had someone say, “For God so loved Jason, Stephen…your name.” It just changes the emphasis of it. There are other scriptures that that is even more powerful. So if it works, do that. It’s a way for you to think more deeply about it.
5. Pray it.
A lot of scripture you can take back to God and pray over it. For instance, in the book of Philippians where it is talking about meditating, I am going to think about whatever is true. Whatever is right. Whatever is lovely. Whatever is good of good repute. Again, it’s Philippians 4:8. It comes right after the don’t worry of verse 6 and 7.
Take time to pray… “God, help me to do this. Help me, Lord, to think about the things that are of good repute. Help me think of the things that are pure today.” For someone like myself that struggled with sins that were in my thoughts, “Help me today to have pure thoughts.” You can pray it back to God and really have a deeper understanding.
Reading is so important. Having your quiet time is so important. But, if you could take a little time and chew on a few verses, I promise you that they are richer than you could ever imagine.
Check out the audio from this conversation with Jason