Monday, May 6, 2013

Meditate Like Yoda You Should Not

When you think of meditation what comes to mind?  An emaciated guru chanting on top of a mountain in a filthy loincloth?   I'm imagining an Indian version of Yoda. I'm weird, right?

Seriously, the biggest problem Christians face when discussing meditation is that we immediately become confused by our new age or eastern idolatrous view of it.  

Bible mediation is different.  Rather than repeating a particular phrase or chanting some nonsense syllables, biblical mediation is thinking about God - considering his past works, the world he created, and the law he gave us (Psalms 77:11-20). This kind of focused thinking is just the opposite of the stereotypical "empty your mind" kind of meditation that we often imagine. 

Meditation is never commanded in the New Testament, and even in the Old Testament it's more of an example in the lives of such giants as Isaac and Joshua than a demand.  Meditation seems (like several other spiritual disciplines) to be a method not a goal.  The goal is to "prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:13) Or Paul says we should, "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." If your mind is in need of transformation, if it needs prepared for action, keeping your thoughts centered on God is the perfect place to start. 

David was a meditator.  I think the 19th Psalm must be a direct result of all those hours out on a hillside with only sheep to talk to. In the first part (Psalms 19:1-6) David wrote an ode to the amazing creative work of God in nature. In the second part (verses 7-11) David praised the self-revelation of God in law, testimony and judgment.  Finally after he confessed his own sin he wrote this, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." (Psalms 19:14) David thought about God, what he made, who he was and so composed a psalm of praise.  He called it the mediation of his heart.  

Practically speaking how would you or I practice mediation?  The next time I get insomnia, instead of lying in bed fretting over thing I can't change or getting up to read, I'd join David in thinking about God (Psalms 4:4, 63:6). Another simple way to practice meditation is to read a verse or short passage and make it your theme for the week.  Put it on your desktop on the computer, recite it every morning, tape it onto the bathroom mirror or above the kitchen sink and then THINK about it.  

Just imagine if you took a whole day to think about the way that God provides for the birds. You could begin the day by writing Matthew 6:25-26 and Luke12:6 on an index card and put it in your pocket. The bird tweeting outside your bedroom window would call to mind God's provision (Matthew 6).  When you had to swerve to miss the unexpected car in front of you, you'd remember that God knows every sparrow who falls and he certainly can watch out for you. As you prayed that day how could you help but thank God for his protection and care?  That's not like Yoda on the mountain at all.  

Here in the pages of the blog I am constantly writing out my thoughts, exploring what I know about God and finding new ways to praise him.  I think today I'll pray and mediate on David's words.  "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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