I remember in the 1970’s when transcendental meditation made big inroads into our society. Christians were alarmed by this false eastern religion and began associating the idea of meditation with negative connotations. While eastern religion exhorts followers to empty their minds, Christians are exhorted in Scripture to fill our minds with Truth.
One reason TM was able to make such an impact in American society was because the church had been failing to teach the power and the importance of biblical meditation. The Bible is filled, not just with examples of people who meditated upon the word of God, but also with exhortations to God’s people to meditate on the word of God.
Psalm 1 is the first chapter of the Bible all of our students at the Ranch memorize: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked… But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night….” We explain to our students that in order to meditate on God’s word day and night, we must hide God’s word in our hearts through memorization. But, even though our students memorize multiple chapters of the Bible, we want them to understand that the purpose of memorizing and meditating is in order to obey God’s leadership and direction.
Because most professing Christians fail to meditate on God’s word, inviting His Spirit to shape their thoughts and lives, they miss out on the reality of God’s power. Sadly, much of the institutional church is accurately described by the apostle Paul’s description of godlessness in the last days. “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Tragically, many people are seeing greater evidence of spiritual reality in New Age philosophies, occult practices, and false religions. If God’s children don’t do what God has told us to do in meditating upon His word, we should not be surprised when the enemy comes along with a counterfeit and attracts a following. The enemy’s following sometimes extends even to those who call themselves followers of Christ.
Godly meditation is still very much a journey for me personally. I’m still learning to follow the Lord and to be led by His Spirit. I have found that there are things God wants to tell me that are not specifically stated in the Bible. I must interact with God in prayer: listening, meditating, following where He leads, and watching for confirmation of His direction.
Are you spending time listening to your Heavenly Father? Will you make time to be quiet in His presence so that you can better hear His voice?
(This teaching is an excerpt from Hearing His Voice: The Life of Prayer, Book 2 by Jim Wood.)