Whenever we are in ministry, one of the things which keeps all of us tied into granny knots is stress.  Of course, we cannot live without stress.  It is the fuel that keeps us moving forward with purpose and energy.  Normal stress is not sin.  However, too much stress is as unhealthy as obesity.  It can damage your heart and mind.  Stress is the direct result of many auto and household accidents.

One of the most powerful tools in our personal arsenal against stress is the age-old discipline of Christian meditation.  Because this discipline has been transformed by the New Age Movement and the insurgence of Hinduism into Western Culture, Christians have all but eliminated this valuable practice.  In reality, Christian meditation is different from the Hindu practice.

Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book The Purpose Drive Life (Zondervan) writes, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day”

Warren continues, “Christian “meditation is focused thinking. It takes a serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind…if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.”  

The most recommended form of Christian meditation which has been practiced since the fourth century is Lectio divina. Don’t be stumped by the Latin.  The translation  is “sacred reading.”

There are  four simple stages: lectio (reading), meditatio (discursive meditation), oratio (affective prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). In the reading stage, we find a passage and read it deliberately. I love Psalm 1 and often meditate on this great passage.  I meditate on and I’ve memorized the ten commandments.

The next stage is discursive meditation,  Here,  we ponder or think about the text. Discursive thinking is relaxed and rambling, yet rational thinking.  Literally, allow your mind to casually play with the scriptures much the way a kitten plays with a ball of string.   While eliminating irrational elements introduced by your mind, enjoy the process of examining all the prospects of the verse or verses, .

In the effective prayer stage, talk to God about the verse.  Ask  Him to reveal the truths found in the Scripture.

In the final, contemplation stage, we simply rest in the Lord’s presence.

While Christian leaders such as Beth Moore, Jim Downing, Thomas Merton and Joni Tada encourage meditation in their writings, the Bible also mentions meditate or meditation 20 times.  In the Old Testament, two Hebrew the words used Haga and Sihach.  Haga, meaning  to utter, groan, meditate, or ponder.   Sihach, means to muse, rehearse in one’s mind, or contemplate. The translation of these words can also be:  Dwell, diligently consider, and heed.

In Joshua 1:8, God, instructs us to meditate on day and night on His word so we will obey it.  The psalmist says “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

Advertisements