Meditation

by Sally Rollins

What is meditation? Do we meditate? Should we meditate? Websterís dictionary lists these definitions: (1) to reflect upon; study; ponder; (2) to plan or intend; (3) to think deeply and continuously; reflect; muse. Strongís Concordance concurs with these definitions: ponder, thoughts, thinking, think, consider, muse.

An important meditation scripture, perhaps, is in Joshua 1:8, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; [you must] meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it" (NIV). We see, as we prepare to enter the promised land, that we are to study, consider, think about and ponder, the laws that God has given us. Why? In order to walk worthy of the calling we have received (Eph. 4:1) and in order that our lives might be pleasing in Godís sight, we must think on His ways, His wonders and His will for us. As we think about these things we will move toward them.

David was a man after Godís own heart (Acts 13:22). It is interesting that nearly all of the words "meditate or meditation" come from the Psalms. What are some of the things that David meditated on? The things we are to consider, ponder, study and think about are numerous: Godís unfailing love, His works, His mighty deeds, His precepts, His ways, His decrees, His wonders, His laws, His statutes, His promises, His works and what His hands have done (Ps. 48:9; 77:12; 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148; 143:5).

The first time the word meditate appears in the New Testament in the KJV is in Luke 21:14, "Settle, therefore, in your hearts not to meditate before what you shall answer." In other words, donít try to think in advance of what you will say, donít ponder your defence; but trust God to give you the words you need when the time comes.

The second time the word appears is I Timothy 4:15. After Paul had instructed Timothy, Paul tells him to "be diligent in these matters" (NIV). The KJV says, "meditate on these things". Again, as we think on these things we will move toward them. If we meditate, think and ponder on the instructions we receive, we will be diligent in carrying them out.

While the word "meditate" is not commonly used in the New Testament, and not even mentioned in the modern translations, the principle is there and it is a very important principle. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5—NIV). We donít let our minds drift into fantasies or dwell on the negative things, or even get involved in thinking too much about the things of this world. But we are to control our minds and meditate on God, His ways, His wonders, His laws, and the purpose and the position He has determined for us. "Therefore, holy brethren, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest Whom we confess" (Heb. 3:1). "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Col. 3:1).

We are admonished over and over to seek God. "If you seek the Eternal your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul... For the Eternal your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you" (Deut. 4:29). "Seek the Eternal while He may be found" (Isaiah 55:6). "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Eternal, until He comes" (Hosea 10:12). "Seek Me and live" (Amos 5:4). "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:33).

How do we seek God? Is there some place we can go to find Him? Is there some pilgrimage we can embark on to locate Him? No! "...ĎDo not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (That is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the deep?" (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead).í But what does it say? ĎThe Word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heartí" (Rom. 10:6). We seek God through meditation, through "setting our minds on things above," through "taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Heb. 12:2). Why do we fix our eyes on Jesus? Because "He is the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

We have answered the question of what meditation is. Why should we meditate? It is a method of seeking and coming to know God. Why do we need to seek and know God? Because "...Christ, ...is our life" (Col. 3:4; see also I Jn 5:11, 20).

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble and honorable, whatever is right and just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is lofty and whatever is praiseworthy—think [meditate] about such things" (Phil. 4:8). &


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