Meditation is a very important part of our fellowship with God. Don’t be afraid of it. Meditation was God’s idea long before New-Agers thought of it and Eastern religions perverted it. What makes the activity of meditation healthy or unhealthy comes from what we meditate on.
New Age thinking generally tells us to meditate by emptying our minds of everything and focus on the material things we want to possess. This tends to promote greed and prideful self-sufficiency. Eastern religions generally teach to meditate by emptying our minds of everything on allowing the "powers of the universe" to fill us. This can be extremely dangerous due to the unseen spiritual forces that delight in messing with people's minds.
As believers, if we focus on human effort, just "trying harder," then we frustrate, or neutralize, the transforming grace of God. But, when we humble ourselves by acknowledging we can't change ourselves, we activate His grace and the miracle of transformation begins.
Then, when we meditate on His word and behold His beauty through worship, this kind of meditation becomes an important means of transformation.
In the New Covenant, we are not seeking behavior modification by human effort. We are seeking the miracle of internal transformation by the power of His Spirit within us.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you…This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." (Rom 12:1-2 NLT)
How Do We Meditate?
When Joshua was preparing to lead God’s people into the Promised Land, he was told the key to his success would be learning to fellowship God by meditating on His word day and night.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” (Joshua 1:8)
The biblical word for meditate means:
“to ponder it, to repeat it, to roll it over and over in your mind.”
The Holy Spirit, the true Teacher, speaks to us as we see the simple meaning of God’s word and meditate upon it. Our thinking is renewed as we take the simple truth of God’s word and ponder it; rolling it over and over in our minds.
David understood the value of true meditation and spoke of its power in the Psalms; even under the inferior Old Covenant.
“Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.”
“My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.”
“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart and my spirit ponders…”
“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.”
What Does Meditation in the New Covenant Look Like?
Paul tells us the same thing is true for us as we seek to live in the freedom of the New Covenant. His instruction is to feed and focus; to meditate on what is true, honorable, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent and worthy of praise.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil. 4:8)
Of course, all these qualities are found in Christ and in the truth of what He has already done for us. When we focus what He has already done for us and we ponder on what His Spirit wants to produce through us, rolling it over and over in our minds, the transforming power of New Covenant grace is activated within us.
Meditation Produces Faith...Faith Brings Transformation
As we learn to feed on what the Word actually tells us about what God wants to do within us, and what His Spirit wants to produce through us, we can worship Him in "spirit and truth." As we focus on His truthfulness, His faithfulness and the beauty of His majesty through worship, our simple, growing faith causes mysterious and miraculous transformation to happen; to us, in us and through us.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)
This miraculous, progressive transformation is what the New Covenant is all about. This is God’s Brilliant Plan, His New Covenant grace; Christ living His life in and through us.
And this, my friend, is what real life, the abundant life, is all about!
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.