The spiritual discipline of meditation is largely unheeded by most Christians in the twenty-first century.
The fault is not in the Christian, but in a multitude of distractions. We live in a hurried, temporal-minded world that seems involved only with the next sale, the next opportunity, the next technological breakthrough, ad infinitum.
For many the notion of meditation is beyond our grasp. We have not observed it modeled because it is undertaken in silence and solitude by those who meticulously practice it. How could we know what meditation looks like when we have not seen it modeled or even taught?
It is the spiritual disciplines that enliven the Holy Spirit within each believer. If we are not practicing the spiritual disciplines, we simply exist as “fat babies.” Fat babies refers to someone who knelt at the altar and that was the end.. They are saved by grace, but were never discipled, never taught the basics of the faith, let alone the disciplines of the faith.
Meditation is a lost art for many Christians, but the practice needs to be cultivated again.
“Where are you?”
Let me share a personal story before I dive into meditation. Some years ago, I was hosting a spiritual retreat in Colorado Springs, Colorado where I worked. Our opening evening of that retreat commenced with a short reading of Genesis 3:8-9. It is the story of Adam and Eve’s fall. After they partook of the fruit of the tree, they hid from God when they heard him walking in the garden. God called to them saying, “Where are you?”
Please imagine the Lord calling that out to you at this very moment. WHERE ARE YOU?
What is your answer to Him? Where are you right now?
The first time I heard this question being asked at the spiritual retreat, the Holy Spirit sent a blazing arrow into my heart. I had been out of fellowship with the Lord for some time. The circumstances of life and loss had left me in retreat. When it came time to share, I was given a vivid image of a wounded deer who had run into the woods to either recover or die. That was where I was at that particular time.
He longs for our fellowship as much as He longed for fellowship with Adam and Eve. So, please answer His question for yourself. Where are you?
Meditation is a constant, ongoing discipline of the faith that we are supremely privileged to partake. It is constant fellowship with our Father. He is always with us, but we may not always be with Him.
What is Meditation?
We must intake God’s Word for meditation because His Word is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.
Do not confuse the content of intake. It is not something you read that was written by anyone other than God himself. God’s Word is exactly that – it is His Living Word which speaks to you personally. No other words written in all history can claim to be living and active. His presence is intimately joined to His Word and our meditation.
A cow ruminates its food. It chews its food long periods of time and deposits it in one of its four stomachs and continually brings it back up for more chewing until it has deposited it in all four stomachs before it completes its final journey outside the cow’s body.
“Meditation is to the soul what “digestion” is to the body. It means understanding the Word, “chewing on it,” and applying it to our lives, making it a part of the inner person.
You may ruminate on a verse or passage of the bible for hours or days. Meditation is accomplished in silence and solitude with expectant anticipation of God’s revelation. We roll His words over and over in our thoughts until He illuminates them.
Have you heard His voice lately?
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him
Meditation on the living and active Word is like gazing at a prism, which breaks a single beam of sunlight into many component colors. As we take time to steadily focus on God’s Word, the Spirit illuminates.
We may roll God’s Word over and over in our mind until He will cause it to sink into our heart.
Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in Thy law. [Psalm 119:18]
Andrew Murray describes meditation as, “Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life… this is meditation.”
It is a purposeful endeavor to meditate on God’s Word.
“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God… It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.” [Packer, J I: Knowing God]
Meditation is the anvil upon which the Lord hammers out our dross, illuminates our spirit, and transforms us into His image. Our only responsibility in this process is to submit ourselves to the discipline of meditation.
Teaching Others to Meditate
Disciple makers teach the disciplines of the faith. This means we will not only teach them about meditation, but we will model meditation for them.
The best method of imparting this spiritual discipline is through the discipline of journaling. Both you and those you disciple ought to keep a journal of what you have read (outside the usual discipleship homework), what you learned, what was meditated on, and the results of that meditation.
May the Lord be your constant and intimate guide as you learn to meditate on His Word. The benefits are other-worldly and will genuinely transform you beyond anything you could ever imagine.