I want to be clear that this post is about Christian meditation and not meditation in general, as they are distinctly different things. At one point in time, I did not realize there was a difference and that the difference is profound. New age or Eastern ideas of meditation support the idea of emptying one’s mind, allowing whatever thoughts that surface to just float by, becoming non-reactive. Meditation from this perspective emphasizes personal ability and power to control our circumstances and life. On the other hand, Christian meditation focuses on filling or focusing our minds on God and His Truth. Christian meditation provides a way for the believer to engage in praise and worship of the Lord, completely surrender their lives to his control, and fully trust his power in their lives. New age or Eastern meditation seeks to gain control, whereas, Christian mediation seeks to give up control. Completely different intents with completely different outcomes.
The Bible is full of verses about meditating on God and his word, what he has done and is doing for us. Two of my favorite scriptures on meditation are in Psalms:
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
“I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.”
When I used to try to practice eastern meditation and empty my mind, I struggled with the “floating” thoughts that came through. Usually, these thoughts were negative, tied to what I did wrong, what I haven’t done, or some resentment I had with another person. When I tried to let them float by and be non-reactive, I never truly dealt with them. Now, when I have thoughts that make me uncomfortable, sad, or angry, I face them directly as 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, I try to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” Now, instead of running away or stamping down or remaining nonreactive to those negative thoughts, I stop, really look at the thought, and then go to the Word to find the Truth, meditating on that Truth.
Christian meditation begins by actively meditating on God’s Word, daily and with intention. However, it also includes taking our thoughts captive and redirecting them to reflect the Truth of God’s Word. Make no mistake, I recognize how hard this is–we are sinful creatures living in a fallen world–but we are to delight in his Word and we will prosper and grow by doing so.
Contributed by Liz Hunt