Growing in Grace: Meditation
This is the first segment in the series Growing in Grace, which focuses on how we develop and strengthen our walk with Jesus. To start the series off, we will discuss the spiritual discipline of meditation. Like counterfeit coins or dollars, meditation has its counterfeits: taking the same name and similar form. Counterfeit meditation claims to connect you with the divine and grow you spiritually. Often times it produces temporal results (momentary relief from stress for example), which makes it an influential counterfeit. Nevertheless, these forms of meditation do not genuinely transform one’s soul (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) and bring about lasting healing (Matthew 11:28-30).
Growing in Grace is part of the Theology in Action program at Enlightium Academy, an accredited, online Prek-12 school. This is the second chapter of the Growing in Grace series and is also available in audio and video formats.
We will start with a basic question, “Is there a proper form of meditation?” Simply put, yes. The proper form of meditation is Biblical meditation. Biblical meditation is conversing within one’s self about God and His word. The Hebrew word for meditation is הגה and means to muse, growl, utter, or speak. The main idea of this word is a conversing within one’s heart and mind about God’s being (who He is) and word (what He says). Two passages in the Psalms bring these two aspects to light.
Psalm 63:6 is a Psalm of David. For context, David is in the wilderness of Judah and his soul cries out in thirst for God. Verse 6 says, “When I remember you on my bed, I meditate on you throughout the night [the watches of the night].” David says I הגה, or “I mutter to myself concerning the LORD.” David mutters within Himself about YHWH’s (the I AM’s) being or person.
While expressing what the blessed person does and does not do, Psalm 1:1-2 speaks to meditation: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked and in the way of sinners he does not stand, nor does he sit in the seat of scoffers, (2) but his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law, he muses day and night.” The blessed one muses or mutters within about God’s law (His word).
According to these two passages, meditation is a constant conversing within one’s heart and mind about God and His word. The blessed person is the one who speaks or muses personally with God – contemplating His being and character as well as His will and word – who He is and what He says.
In contrast, proper or life-transforming meditation is not an emptying of one’s mind as found with many forms of spiritualism or eastern religions. It is not an escape from the way things are, but a communion with God that transforms the way things are, and who we are.
Much of western society has been deeply affected by eastern forms of meditation where the focus is transcending the world in which we live. This perspective seeks to meditate on a few concepts or objects in order to eventually aim at musing on nothing in particular. Some approaches muse on false realities where everything is perfect or muse on one concept for extended periods of time. This meditation does not transform the soul. Rather, like a counterfeit, it gives a false sense of transformation by postponing the matters of the soul, clearing the mind and heart for a time without aiding the mind and heart. In essence, it puts off the true matters of the person’s soul without supplying the person with wisdom to find resolve and ultimately solace and rest.
If we desire wholesome and sound hearts and minds, we must muse over God’s being (who He is) and His word (what He says). We need to meditate like the blessed person in scripture or as King David did. Christians ought to discipline their hearts to muse or think within about God and His truth day and night.
This is called a discipline because of our fallen condition. Even as redeemed people of God, our hearts tend to think about self and other objects of the world, rather than the Creator and sustainer of the self and the world. On this basis, we must make it our daily aim to put into practice musing or thinking about God and His word. Here is a list of practical ways of implementing Biblical meditation: use a sticky note as a reminder to read Scripture, write out a verse a week on a flashcard, leave a Bible out as a constant reminder of our need for God’s word. This allows you to do what works best for you as a means of creating a habit of thinking within the parameters of who God is and what God says.