We were made to meditate. God designed us with the capacity to pause and ponder. He means for us to not just hear him, but to reflect on what he says.
It is a distinctively human trait to stop and consider, to chew on something with the teeth of our minds and hearts, to roll some reality around in our thoughts and press it deeply into our feelings, to look from different angles and seek to get a better sense of its significance.
The biblical name for this art is meditation, which Don Whitney defines as “deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture for the purposes of understanding, application, and prayer” (Spiritual Disciplines, 48). And it is a marvelous means of God’s grace in the Christian life.
Meditation Made Christian
Since we were made to meditate, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that world religions have seized upon the activity, and new schools try to make use of its practical effects, whether to cultivate brain health and lower blood pressure. Christian meditation, however, is fundamentally different than the “meditation” popularly co-opted in various non-Christian systems. It doesn’t entail emptying our minds, but rather filling them with biblical and theological substance — truth outside of ourselves — and then chewing on that content.
For the Christian, meditation means having “the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). It is not, like secular meditation, “doing nothing and being tuned in to your own mind at the same time,” but it is feeding our minds on the words of God and digesting them slowly, savoring the texture, enjoying the juices, cherishing the flavor of such rich fare. Meditation that is truly Christian is guided by the gospel, shaped by the Scriptures, reliant upon the Holy Spirit, and exercised in faith.
Man does not live by bread alone, and meditation is slowly relishing the meal.