What is “Christian Meditation”?
What is “Meditation”?
The idea of meditation is simple and straightforward. Meditation is the practice of actively engaging in reflection or contemplation. It's an intentional act of pondering and focusing your thoughts. The word is often used for “thinking about something”.
In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words for meditation:
(to sigh or murmur, to meditate)
(to muse, or rehearse in one's mind)
When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, hāgâ became the Greek melete, which emphasized meditation's movement in the depth of the human heart. Melete was a reminder that meditation should never be reduced to a formality. When the Bible references meditation, it often mentions obedience in the next breath.
Meditation is not inherently good, bad, “Christian”, or “demonic”. However, meditation is ALSO a deeply “spiritual” practice with heavy significance in by many religions. “Spirituality” is a key idea, which we will briefly disect next.
What Does “Spiritual” Mean?
All of life and eternity depend on how you answer this question. The Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ depends on the answer to this question. For Christians, only Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible get to define “spirituality”.
Both GOOD and EVIL “spirituality” coexist. Jesus often used the analogy of “light” and “darkness”. If Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and angels are real… so are Satan and demons. Jesus directly talked ABOUT Satan and TO demons throughout his earthly life. Jesus also warned us Denying the existence of demonic spirituality is denying the Truth of Scripture. We are NOT saying “everything is demonic” or … however, we must approach the topic of “spiritual meditation” carefully and Biblically.
For Christians, there are only TWO spiritual “sides”…
Side #1. “Light” = of God
“Light” is anything good, right, and true from the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Bible sufficiently determines what is right, wrong, good, bad, or neutral.
Side #2. “Darkness” = Anything Else
There is no wiggle room or “gray area” here. The Bible tells us that in the end… every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Jesus defeated death on the cross, and in the end will crush, kill, and destroy Evil forever.
Popular Eastern & Western Meditation Practices are NOT Biblical
There has been a resurgence of interest in meditation. Celebrities and successful professionals regularly discuss their practices throughout the media. This is partly due to the growing body of reputable medical research from organizations like Harvard and UCLA Medical Schools that have scientifically quantified the many emotional, cognitive, and physiological benefits meditation.
It is important for you to more deeply explore the origins and focuses of these practices. Let's explore the Eastern & Western practices…
YOUR “Awareness”, Emptiness, Enlightenment
Transcendental (TM), Mindfulness, Yoga (most forms), Mantra (OM), Vipassanā, Loving Kindness, Chakra, Zen (Zazen), Self-Enquiry, Guided Visualization, Primordial Sound, SEmptiness, Qigong (Chi kung), and more.
State awareness, emptying the self or mind, enlightment, transcendance, spiritual insight, spiritual connection, oneness.
Worship practices from the traditions and “sacred writings” of Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and others).
YOUR Power, Success, Self-Esteem
The “Law of Attraction” and “The Secret”, incantations, manifest visualization, self affirmations, visualization, hypnosis, neuro linguistic programming, trances, “mindset mastery”, guru worship, prosperity repitition, endless “self-help”, and more.
Wealth, success, prosperity, self-esteem, power, mind-control, manifest destiny, positive thinking, mindset control.
Self-help guruism, quantum mysticism, New Age “spirituality”, spiritual “channels” or gurus, basic capitalism.
Meditation IS a Biblical Practice & Spiritual Discipline
Meditation is ABSOLUTELY a powerful, meaningful, guiding, and transformational Biblical practice. Further, the practice of meditation, to rest in and focus on the presence of God, is a Biblical charge and invitation. Scripture also repeatedly instructs on how to meditate and on what we should focus.
Meditation is a theme referenced throughout the Old Testament, especially in Psalms. Many of the Psalms are birthed from the prophets' meditations AND are wonderful for our personal meditation as well. In the Gospels, Jesus withdrew to quiet places to pray and be present with God throughout His earthly ministry, especially during crucial moments. In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians, he instructs them to meditate. Paul wrote many letters from prision; we can only imagine how much he meditated in his prison cell.
Biblical Meditation has 4 Core Focuses
Biblical meditation is NOT about emptiness or focusing on yourself, it is about orienting and focusing MORE on these specific subjects…
Focus #1. Who God IS… as HE Revealed in Scripture
In Biblical meditation, the PRIMARY FOCUS is God… We reflect on the character of the one, true God. He mysteriously and eternally exists as 3 distinct “persons” in divine, sufficient relationship.
The Father is fully God. The Son, Jesus Christ, is fully God. The Holy Spirit is fully God. Each is somehow separate, equal, communal, and One. We will never truly understand this until Heaven! We should be careful NOT to “make God” who we want or wish Him to be… instead, we ponder who God says He is and reveals himself to be through the Bible.
In Biblical meditation, you contemplate the infinite attributes of Him… His love, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, Fatherhood, friend, counselor, power, wisdom, faithfulness, mercy, grace through Jesus, sovereignty, providence, justice, eternality, goodness, transcendance, self-sufficiency, righteousness, immutability, creatorship, divinity, and so much more.
Focus #2. Biblical Teaching & Instruction
The Bible was written by God’s divine inspiration, penned by the Holy Spirit through humans. It is true, trustworthy, powerful, effective, complete and perfect. It is God’s gift to humanity so we can know about Him, His story, why He created us, and our purposes.
One of our goals is for the Word of God to be written on our minds and hearts. We are called, challenged, and invited to grow in the wisdom, stature, maturity, and knowledge of God…. not so we can be scholars or look smart to others, so we can live the lives to which we are called.
God designed us! He IS Good, knows what's good, and knows how he designed us to live. The Bible helps us know and live in His good truths. We spend our lives needing simple reminders for simple obedience.
Focus #3. Who You are in Christ… A Created, Chosen, Saved Masterpiece
Since Genesis, humanity has found our identity in others' opinions, our wishes, our posessions (or lack therof), and countless other idols. Billions of dollars are spent every year by companies trying to tell you who you are or who you should be.
As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you are a new creation, loved by God, and saved for eternity. You have a divine purpose in a broken, fallen, and hurting world.
Meditating on Who You Are in Christ settles your identity IN Him and grows your worship OF Him. Another beautiful impact is your love and desire for others to know the Gospel grows too!
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.
Focus #4. Motivation, Encouragement & Wisdom for Christian Living
Biblical meditation on God, the Bible, and who you are in Christ empowers you to live the life to which you are called… which Jesus summarized in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
As you meditate on what is good, right, and true, your heart miraculously changes and aligns with God's. The inevitable results are the Fruits of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
God helps you love, serve, offer grace & mercy, pursue humility, and share the Gospel boldly and well.
The Goals & Gifts = The Greats!
The Great Commission
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthews 28:18-20
The Great Commandment
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:35-40
The Fruit of Meditation = LOVE!
Love is CRUCIAL.
It is the beautiful fruit & foundation of the Gospel.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
… So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 13
Love takes WORK.
it requires mental, physical, emotional & spiritual effort.
Love is HARD.
It requires listening, humility, mercy and grace.
You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?Matthew 5:43-44, 46-47