What is Meditation?

It’s often thought that meditation is only a practice in eastern and new age religions. But that simply isn’t true. Meditation is a spiritual practice exercised by God’s people from Genesis, when Isaac “went out to meditate in the field in the evening.”(Gen. 24:63) God instructed Joshua to meditate on his law (Josh. 1:8) so that he can live by it. David meditated within his heart on his bed and was still. (Psalm 4:4)

Psalm 77 is a perfect illustration of biblical meditation. The psalmist, named Asaph, begins in a state of despair. He’s cried out to God day and night but his soul refuses to find rest. He’s full of complaints and grumbling. He thinks God has rejected him (all characteristics of an un-renewed mind). But then something special happens: Asaph remembers the works of the Lord and is uplifted. He renews his troubled mind by meditating on the Person, works, and wonders of God. (From NSG Psalm 77:11-13)

Likewise, Paul exhorts us to meditate on whatever things are true, noble, just, and pure. (Phil. 4:8) This is how to renew your mind and let go of the thought patterns of this world. (Ro. 12:2) Meditation is a major part of life with God and the key to experiencing the abundant life Jesus has for you. (John 10:10) Since we were raised with Christ, we are to seek the things which are above, where Christ is. (Col. 3:1) This is the very foundation of renewing your mind to rest.

What is the goal of this kind of meditation? One definition of rest is to ‘be steadily directed on’, as in a look. Hebrews 12 speaks about ‘laying aside every weight and sin’ so you are free to run your race. The definition of meditate is to think deeply or focus one’s mind. So what’s the goal of this kind of meditation? To focus on Jesus, or in other words, to rest in Jesus and allow Him to transform you.

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”

— Hebrews 12:2

The text then goes on to explain how to do it: ‘by looking unto Jesus’. It really is that simple! Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, not ourselves! He was innocent, but He went to the cross willingly and fully completed your salvation ‘for the joy that was set before Him’. He is now sitting ‘at the right hand of the throne of God’. Sitting-resting-because the work is finished. This is news we can greatly rejoice in! Our salvation is complete. Victory is secured. Jesus did all the work and we receive all the benefits.

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