1. Our text for this lesson COMMANDS Christians to engage in a form of meditation
2. The practice of meditation is not something you might hear frequently discussed
a. It may be that some Christians are not aware that they are commanded to meditate
3. Yet Paul teaches us to meditate, and meditation is certainly a Biblical subject:
a. Isaac meditated in the field at eventide - Genesis 24:63
b. Joshua was charged by God to mediate "day and night" - Joshua 1:8
c. The "blessed man" in Psalm 1 is one who meditates - Psalm 1:1-2
d. David became wiser than his teachers through meditation - Psalm 119:99
e. Paul commanded Timothy to meditate on these things - 1 Timothy 4:15
4. But some questions may come to mind:
a. WHAT does meditation mean for the Christian?
b. WHY should we be concerned about making time to meditate?
c. HOW should we meditate?
A. WHAT MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE IS NOT
1. The kind practiced by many Eastern religions
b. Where the object is to experience truth, peace, or being, that is inexpressible
2. The kind practiced by Christian mystics
b. These meditate in order to experience God, or to receive some revelation from God
3. Both Eastern and Christian mystical meditation usually attempt to empty the mind so as
to find or receive truth within (subjective form of meditation)
B. WHAT IS MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE?
1. To contemplate on some truth or reality already revealed (objective form of meditation)
2. To be more specific, Christians meditate on such things as:
a. The Lord Himself - Psalm 63:6
b. His wonderful Works - Psalm 77:12
3. To put it in the words of the apostle Paul, we are to meditate on things
a. Things that are: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report
b. Things that are of any virtue, and are praiseworthy
4. The PURPOSE of such meditation is
a. To nourish man with his understanding of God and His Revealed Will
b. To give man spiritual joy and strength through such nourishment - Psalm 1:1-3
C. So there is a very real difference between Biblical meditation and that commonly practiced
by many religions!
1. Christian meditation dwells on things already revealed in creation or inspired revelation
2. Whereas other forms of meditation are seeking some new truth to be revealed
A. IT IS A SOURCE OF JOY AND STRENGTH
1. This we have already seen from such passages like Psalm 1:1-2
2. This alone should motivate us to meditate more often
B. IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR TRANSFORMATION
1. The goal of the Christian is to become more like Christ - Romans 8:29
2. This requires a transformation - Romans 12:1-2
3. But notice that this is possible only by renewing the mind - Romans 12:2
4. This "renewing" is possible only when we "set our minds" on proper things
a. On things above
b. Not on things on the earth - Colossians 3:1-2
5. Only then, when our minds are set on things above, will we be successful in completing
the transformation which includes putting off the old man and putting on the new man
C. MANY CHRISTIANS FALL BECAUSE THEY MEDITATE ON THE WRONG THINGS!
1. They mind the things of the flesh, which leads to death and enmity with God - Romans 8:5-8
2. Yet even those in the world understand that you cannot be a spiritual person if you
dwell on carnal things
a. Recent studies conducted by a Stanford University research team have revealed that
what we watch does have an effect on our imaginations, our learning patterns, and our
behaviors. First we are exposed to new behaviors and characters. Next, we learn or
acquire these new behaviors. The last and most crucial step is that we adopt these
behaviors as our own. One of the most critical aspects of human development that we
need to understand is the influence of repeated viewing and repeated verbalizing in
shaping our future. The information goes in, harmlessly, almost unnoticed, on a daily
basis, but we don't react to it until later, when we aren't able to realize the basis for
our reactions. In other words, our value system is being formed without any conscious awareness on our part of what is happening!" (Seeds Of Greatness, Denis Waitley, p. 47-48)
b. "You are what you watch and think." (ibid., p. 45)
c. "If a sixty second commercial, by repeated viewing, can sell us a product, then isn't it
possible for a sixty minute soap opera by repeated viewing, to sell us a life-style?" (ibid., p. 47)
A. REMEMBER, YOUR MIND IS AFFECTED BY EVEN CASUAL CONTEMPLATION!
1. The Stanford studies (quoted above)
2. The first step to proper meditation is to be selective in what you watch and read
3. Fill your mind with positive and spiritual thoughts if you really want to:
a. renew the mind
b. be transformed
4. It doesn't have to be restricted to the Bible, as Paul said: "Whatever things..."
a. There are novels, movies, television shows, etc., that fall into the category of
possessing virtue and being praiseworthy
b. Seek the advice and counsel of other Christians as to what is of good report
5. So first let your casual contemplation be discriminatory!
B. TO REACH THE HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL MEDITATION, HEED THE COUNSEL OF THE
WRITER of PSALMS
1. Make the Bible your primary focus for meditation - Psalm 1:2
3. Read it with a prayer in your heart - Psalm 119:18
4. As you read, occasionally read it aloud to yourself
a. The Hebrew word in Psalm 1:2 means to mutter
b. Reading slowly and audibly helps to focus one's mind on the words
5. As you read, you might ask yourself the following questions:
a. Is there some truth I should know from this verse?
b. How does this passage affect a previously held conviction?
c. Is there something I should stop doing in light of this verse?
d. Is there a practice I should change?
e. Is there a habit I ought to begin?
1. In Palms 19:14, we find David praying: "Let the words of mouth and the meditation of my
heart Be acceptable in Your sight, "O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."
2. What Paul commands us to do in our text ("meditate on these things") is the means by
which we can assure that our meditations will be acceptable in the sight of our Lord!
3. If you are not a Christian, or a fallen one, then there are some things in particular upon
which you ought to meditate:
a. What is your standing in God's sight?
b. What would happen if you were to die today?
c. What do you need to do to be found in the grace of God?
d. Why delay any longer?
-- Don Treadway, March 2009 --