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The Bible mentions meditation about 30 times. It is a fact that scripture tells us to "meditate." But the word "meditate" has more than one meaning. What the Bible says to do is meditate on God's word. Fill your thoughts with God's word. Think about how it relates to other parts of God's word. Think about how it relates to your life. Biblical meditation is ACTIVE... engaging your mind, stirring up your thoughts, digging into the depths of God's word. Biblical meditation is like a personal Bible study.
What is promoted as meditation today is VERY different from Biblical meditation
What has come into our churches is eastern meditation... also known as Spiritual Formation, New Age or Hinduism. Instead of filling your mind, you are to empty your mind. That's not always stated up front, but that is what is taught. Here are some of the charactristics of this satanic practice:
- Be still... be calm, slow down your racing thoughts... focus inward. A Bible verse that is commonly referenced is Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God." But this verse IS NOT telling you to be calm and meditate! Psalm 46 is about trusting God in times of trouble. Don't get all agitated and upset. Know that you can trust God no matter what is happening. God is in charge. Trust the Lord.
- Repeat a short Bible verse or the name of Jesus over and over. This sounds Biblical. What could be better that saying the name of Jesus? (Filling your mind wiht His word is better!) The purpose of this is to empty your mind. In Hinduism this is called a mantra...something that is said repretitively so as to empty your mind.
- Have quiet, repetitive background music playing. At times, instead of quiet music, there will be just the same note (or cord) quietly playing for minutes at a time. This helps put your mind into an empty, trance-like state. If you are in a church and they are doing this, RUN out the door!
- Having dim lights or candle light is common. The dimness helps to produce a spiritual feeling.
Eastern meditation feels good. It gives you an emotional high... which is what it is designed to do. The unltimate goal is to hear the small, still voice of god speaking to you in the quiet of your mind. Wow! Now you are an important person, god is speaking directly to you. That's the feeling it is designed to produce and it is not Biblical. God speaks to us through His word. And besides, have you ever read anywhere in scripture about God speaking in a small, quiet voice that is difficult to hear? No! If God speaks, everyone He wants to hear Him WILL hear Him.
Christian meditation is an ACTIVE thought process, giving ourselves to the study and understanding of His word.
What is Christian meditation? (GQ)
Meditation That Honors God (GTY)
Elements of Productive Bible Study: Meditate (GTY)
THE GOOD NEWS
What makes this good news is the bad news about you:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23
Sin means breaking the law. In this case God's law. This is bad news because perfection is required by God. Lawbreakers must pay the just penalty for breaking the law. That penalty is the lake of fire (the second death).
All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8
Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'
You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...
Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true, and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.