What is Christian meditation?

Hi friends. I want to talk to you for just a few moments about Christian meditation. Christian meditation. We this last Sunday, in my message talked about Psalm One where we see meditating on God’s law day and night being a phrase that comes up. And so I want to zoom in a little bit on that, but I just want to refresh our memory.

Read just the first three verses of Psalm One. Blessed is the one or happy is the one. We talked about how blessed means happy, joyful, satisfied. 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, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord. And we talked about how law of the Lord there is not just the law portions of Scripture, not just the Ten Commandments or the Torah, but it’s really speaking about the whole council of Scripture, but whose delight is in the council of God, the instruction of God, the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person. Here’s the metaphor that we need to lock into 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. The word picture that we’re being given there is of something that we should all aspire to and desire because of this sort of sense of permanence and prosperity and fruitfulness that is pictured there with the tree. Doesn’t that sound amazing to be an evergreen tree that is able through good seasons and through difficult seasons to still remain rooted because it’s besides these streams of waters. And so the picture that we’re being given here is in the same way that a tree receives nourishment because its roots are down deep and it’s deriving energy and nutrients from the water.

So is the person who delights in the law of the Lord and who meditates on it day and night. And so we talked about this idea of meditating that for many of us often gets lumped together with this concept of Eastern meditation in which Eastern meditation often seeks for a person to clear their mind of thought and just sort of open themselves up to the universe. But Christian meditation is just the opposite. You’re not daydreaming. You’re not just letting your mind wander and then take you wherever, but you’re actively engaging with God’s Word and you’re thinking about it.

You’re putting your roots deep into God’s Word and you’re deriving nourishment from it. That’s the idea of Christian meditation. You’re seeking to understand God’s word more. You’re seeking to worship God. You’re seeking to apply God’s word.

You’re seeking to interact with it and its implications for your life. You’re chewing on it. And for those of us who say, well, I don’t know how to meditate, if you know how to worry I pointed out on Sunday in my message, if you know how to worry, then you know how to meditate. In the same way that worry causes us to think about things again and again and look at it from all these different angles, that’s the idea of meditation is that you are looking at God’s word. Maybe you’re just pulling out a word from a verse, or maybe you’re just looking at a verse or two, or maybe you’re looking at a passage and you’re asking questions of it and you’re opening yourself up to God speaking to you as you speak to your own heart from God’s Word.

And as you do that, you become more and more like this tree that is being described here in Psalm One. So that in those difficult seasons and those dry seasons and those hot seasons that we all inevitably go through in life, we actually have a firm place and a firm foundation, and we’re still being nourished by God’s word. So I want to give you some examples of what that might look like in a practical way, since some of us might not have ever done Christian meditation, but we kind of want to know where to start. And I mentioned how Psalm One is a great place to meditate. I’m actually going to take you to a different place, but there’s so many different ways to meditate on God’s Word.

There’s no one way to do it. For me, one thing that I do is I seek to try to memorize a text. If it’s just a verse and it speaks to me, I try to then just sort of lodge it in my mind so that I can chew on it throughout the course of the day when I get up and when I go to sleep at night or when I face various circumstances. And I don’t try to memorize lots of verses, but just maybe that one verse and I’ll run through that verse in my mind throughout the course of the day. And so that I can meditate on it, I can think on it, I can think on its implications for my life.

You can also pray through a text. You can turn that into a prayer. And I’ll show you what that looks like here in just a moment. You can emphasize certain words in a verse, pulling out its meaning in different ways. It’s the opposite of Bible study.

You’re not asking questions and then going, okay, well, that was interesting, and then moving on and then saying, okay, I have this knowledge. Rather, you were seeking to go, what would this look like if I was to apply this into every season and circumstance of my life? You’re asking questions of the text, things like what does this tell me about God and about his character, about his nature? What is this passage, this verse, this word saying about me and about you? What is it telling us about the world in which we live.

What is it telling us about the kingdom of God? What is it telling us about Jesus himself? How does it remind us perhaps of the good news of the Gospel message? So all of those are things that we can do when we are meditating upon a scripture. So I’m going to take just a couple of verses that have for a long time really spoken to me.

Isaiah 26, three and four is a verse that I are two verses that I’ve meditated on many, many times in my life, and I just want to read them for you.

Chapter 26 of Isaiah, verse three, it says, you will keep in perfect peace. This is speaking about God. God, you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever. For the Lord.

The Lord himself is the rock eternal. So that passage really speaks to me, and I’ve studied it in the larger context to make sure that I understand the circumstances in which these particular verses were written because I don’t ever want to take a verse out of context. We don’t want to do that. But then I start entering into memorizing this and kind of chewing on it in different ways. So I might then go, okay, well, this says what you keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.

So then I start having a conversation. God, you’re the one who is able to keep me in perfect peace. God, I desire perfect peace. What would perfect peace look like, God? Right now I don’t have perfect peace.

Not only do I want peace, but I want perfect peace. Other things in our world might be able to offer some level of peace, but God, the peace you offer here, it says, is perfect peace. So you see, I’m just having a dialogue here with the text. It says, God, that you keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast. God, when all is going crazy around me, would you help my heart and my mind to just stay fixed on you steadfast and help me to remember that as I do that, God, that you’re going to keep me in perfect peace?

I don’t have to keep myself in perfect peace or try to do that. You’re the one who keeps me, God. You hold me secure in perfect peace. And the reason, God, that I want to do that is because I trust in you, God. Those times when I don’t trust in you, you’re reminding me that I don’t have perfect peace.

So if I want to have perfect peace, I need to trust you in those moments, God. And it says that I’m to trust in you forever. For the Lord. The Lord himself is the rock eternal. And so, Lord, as I think about you being the rock eternal, that reminds me of Jesus and of the metaphors that he would use whenever he would talk about the rock and how Jesus Himself is the rock upon which we can build our lives.

And Lord, thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to remind us of Your presence with us always. He is the perfect peace that you promise. And so I might then turn that into sort of a prayer or time of worship, saying, thank you, God, for sending Jesus and help me to remember that he is my perfect peace, that he is the Prince of Peace, and he came to fill my life. And all of that is just out of two verses, and then I can chew on that again and again and again, and I’ll look at it like a diamond from different angles. You may have your own passage.

I mentioned Psalm one. There are so many different psalms that you can do that with. I’ve done that quite a bit with Psalm 37. I’ve done that with Psalm 23. I’ve done the same thing with Psalm 139.

All of these are favorite passages of mine. In the New Testament, I often lean on a passage like Philippians four, verses six through seven. And as I call these kinds of passages to mind, I find that even when I’m not actively thinking about it, it’s just sitting there so that God then just sort of prompts in me a response to it. I hope that that is something that you feel that you could use in your life. But the goal in all of this is to increasingly delight ourselves in God’s word, to find that it is true, to find that it is relevant and applicable, and then to delight ourselves in God Himself and to meditate on Him and on his presence.

And as we do so, friends, we will increasingly become like that tree that is planted by those streams of water. So I hope that you’ll join me in the days to come in learning to meditate more and more on God’s law day and night.