In the first issue of 2011, USA Today reported 90% of the world has access to mobile networks, and 1.8 trillion text messages were sent between June 2009 and June 2010. Mankind has learned to stay tethered to thoughts and topics at the sound of a ring tone or ping. We focus on what’s trending, respond on Facebook, Tweet about it, and check back for comments. But meditation as a Biblical, spiritual discipline is nothing like the mindset of our culture. The concentration of our culture is captive to the here and now, instead of the holy.
The Barna Group recently released a study about the faith climate in the US, reporting, “The turbo-charged pace of society leaves people with little time for reflection. The deeper thinking that occurs typically relates to economic concerns or relational pressures. Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare.”
To know what Biblical meditation IS, it helps to know what it’s NOT:
- It is NOT empty. God’s Word is the object.
- It is NOT extra Biblical. God’s Law produces obedience.
- IT is NOT an escape. God’s peace and compassion prevail.
Meditation is foreign to the way we do life today. While making bread yesterday, I had to let the yeast work, wait for growth, let the dough rise, and labor for the elasticity of dough ready to bake. Homemade bread is a whole different food than store bought. It can’t be rushed. Meditation takes time to listen, reflect, rehearse, and rework God’s truth in our lives, kneading it into our souls and allowing it to grow and live in our minds and hearts.
- A change of pace – slowing down to allow space and opportunity to consider and reconsider God’s truth and hear His voice.
- An intentional place – carving out an undisturbed corner, where we push aside the urgent and give attention to the Divine.
- A humble posture – helping us to get into the mindset of the forgiven and the rescued, to worship the Object of our thoughts.
- A clear path – instead of wandering or floundering, going to God’s Word that is the lamp to our feet and the light to our path.
- An attitude of prayer – sweet communication flows out of unbothered moments of absorbing God’s truth and grace, and we can respond to Him in praise and honesty.
The New Age movement gave meditation a bad name among many, but Scripture gives a clear pattern of meditation filled with the One True God, not empty and vulnerable to the Enemy. Jesus went away to be alone and communicate with His Father (Matt. 14:13), and Old Testament saints set a precedent of making time to listen to God.
A pace and place for the posture of meditation is going to be hard to carve out, but our hearts can be that holy place. When we commit to practicing this inner discipline, we can look forward to the protection and peace enjoyed by one who is “blessed.”
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. ~ Psalm 1:1-3
One way to meditate today: (I suggest Psalm 1:1-3)
Take one Scripture verse and “tether” yourself to it: write it on a card, say it aloud every time you wash your hands, look up every word in the dictionary, talk about it out loud in the car, tell someone else about it today, pray it back to the Lord, email someone what it means to you, sing it as you work, and find a quiet place to slow your pace long enough to be alone and rehearse that truth in your mind and heart. Let God work out that one truth in your soul, let it froth with new insight, let is rise with understanding, and let it bring the aroma of something new and fresh and wonderful that only the Blessed Woman who meditates on His truth will enjoy!