Busy, hustle, non-stop: these words have become the standard for describing our daily routine.
We start our days in a hurry trying to leave for work on-time, and end our days stressed and worn-out from the many demands and obligations we’ve committed to. When did we stop appreciating rest and start glorifying over committing ourselves? It’s a sad truth that our work weeks are getting longer and our leisure and family time is dwindling because of it.
Although, we can’t always changes the circumstances we are placed in, we can choose to seek God above it all. Instead of allowing the hustle to consume us, we can pray for God’s peace to overwhelm us. One aspect of my Christian spiritual life that I probably most struggle with is meditating. You may be thinking, “Meditating is for Buddhists and zen types.” Well, I’m here to tell you that meditation is a Christian principle too. Not only is it essential to understanding God’s word, but it also provides solace, focus, comfort, and peace.
Thomas Cramner, a prominent leader in the English Reformation and author of the first Book of Common Prayer, wrote this prayer:
“Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them…”
To “inwardly digest” something roughly means to meditate.
I recently watched an old sermon of David Platt’s entitled Meditating on God’s Presence. When I was in college in Birmingham, AL, I attended The Church at Brook Hills where he regularly preached. To this day, I still love listening to his sermons and podcasts. He is an extremely gifted and talented preacher who never fails to admonish and challenge me in my faith. However, this particular sermon really resonated with me because it’s something I often forget to do. The word “meditate” has even begun to take on a secular connotation in our culture. But mediation is an act God calls us to partake in. It’s essential to our spiritual growth and faith walk.
Directly referenced in the Bible over 20 times, meditation is a natural response to God’s word. To deeply understand and learn from the Bible’s teachings, we desperately need to take the time to meditate over what we read. Thoughtfully asking God to write his precepts and teachings in our hearts so no matter what life may bring we are equipped to take life on.
Have you ever been reading your bible in church or in quiet time, only to find yourself completely sidetracked and thinking mindlessly about what you might eat for lunch? Or how your friend should really text you back. Or maybe you should stop by the drugstore on your way home. I could use some new mascara. That commercial on TV with Katy Perry looked like a fun one to try. I wonder if those were her real eyelashes? That new song of her’s is really catchy! Her dad is a pastor isn’t he?…Oh yeah let’s get back to the story of Hosea. If this at all sounds like your own internal dialogue, take heart, you are not alone. It’s so easy to let your mind wander. With social media and constant communication, our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. BUT, that doesn’t mean we can’t change. It just proves that we need to meditate throughout our day, because it’s too easy for us to get sidetracked. We need God’s presence to point us back to Him.
Meditation is like asking God to join you on the journey of understanding His word. We alone can’t understand the glory and majesty of what He does for us. But inviting His presence beyond our quiet times and into our daily Bible readings allows us to deepen our understanding and meditate on His teachings throughout our day. He is with us always (Matthew 28:20) and he promises never to forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). His presence is a given. He never leaves our side once we are a part of the body of Christ. So when He is with us, we have
“confidence amidst uncertainty,
strength despite weakness,
courage in the face of fear,
success according to obedience to Scripture,
and hope in the face of despair.”
Who wouldn’t want that?!?!
But when we solely read scripture without taking the time to meditate and ruminate on it’s meaning and richness, we are acting passively towards His word. The act of meditation invites the Holy Spirit to actively come into our quiet time teaching us and imparting us with solace and hope. This is not an easy discipline to take on. Being quiet and finding times in our schedules for uninterrupted peace is a challenge. But think of the how much richer our spiritual lives would be if we choose to meditate.
Meditation comes in different forms for different people. It could look like turning off your radio in the car and choosing to use that time in prayer and stillness. It could be actively choosing to pray to God throughout your day about what’s on your heart. It could be just being still for a few minutes to think and ponder what God’s teaching you through your daily devotion. By meditating on God’s presence, we in turn draw closer to his almighty throne. Let’s be active with the word of God and take on the discipline of meditation. Join me in mindful meditation of God’s presence!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
If you are interested in reading more articles about Christian meditation, check these few out!
Warm Yourself at the Fires of Meditation via Desiring God
Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night via Desiring God
Dangerous Meditations via Christianity Today