Many Christians have a negative reaction to the concept of meditation. Because eastern religions and the New Age movement have embraced meditation, many believers assume that all meditation is ungodly, evil, and dangerous. Is such a belief consistent with what the Bible teaches, or is this a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water?
Take a look at Genesis 24:63: “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening…” Far from being an unbiblical practice, meditation is actually rooted in Scripture. Hundreds of years before Moses was born or most of the Old Testament was even written, godly men were practicing meditation. Not only is meditation allowed in Scripture, it is actually commanded!
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night. -Joshua 1:8
Since it is actually God Himself speaking in the verse above, clearly there is a form of meditation that is supposed to be practiced by believers. Notice that meditation is not supposed to be something that we do every once in a while, but rather on a daily basis!
In Psalms, the Bible lays out one of the benefits of meditation.
I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. -Psalm 119:99
According to this verse, there is a transformation that takes place inside of us when we meditate on the Word. Our meditation will result in insight into the Word that will not be present in those who do not meditate on Scripture. I often use a chipmunk analogy when discussing meditation. (I mean, everyone loves a good chipmunk analogy now and then, right?)
Reading the Word and memorizing Bible verses is like the chipmunk filling its cheeks with acorns. While reading and memorizing the Word gets the Bible inside of us, it does not necessarily make the Word become a part of us. It is only when the chipmunk takes one acorn, chews it up, and swallows it, that the acorn then becomes a part of who the chipmunk is.
Have you ever thought about the fact that what you ate over the past week is now visible on your face? Molecules from the food that you chewed up and digested this week were absorbed into your bloodstream and incorporated into your cells throughout your body. They have literally become a part of who you are. Meditating on the Word is like chewing it up and digesting it.
It is not enough simply to read and memorize the Word. Think about it. There a many college professors, philosophers, and theologians who have read the entire Bible and even memorized large portions of it, but do not even have a relationship with God at all. We need to be those who will not only read and memorize the Word, but also take the time to chew on individual verses, digest them, and ask the Lord to incorporate them into who we are.
Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Don’t let the fact that other religions practice a counterfeit form of meditation keep you from benefitting from the biblical form of meditation prescribed by God. In my next blog, I will discuss some of the various forms of meditation described in the Bible.
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