Tag: THINKING

MEDITATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Millions of people around the world meditate-why don’t Christians? My guess is that, apart from the sheer business of our existence, many Christians consider meditation to be an occultic, suspicious practice reserved for those wrapped up in Eastern religions: something the good Christian should steer well away from.

The truth is that meditation is something we can and most definitely should engage in, with great benefits to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and at the same time honoring God and doing exactly what He wants us to do! But what exactly is meditation?David, a “man after God’s own heart”, wrote in the Psalms about meditating on God (example Psalm 63). The word “meditate” is translated “think” in the NIV:

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night (verse 6).

The meaning of the word includes, according to Strongs, “The act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself-meditate”.

Jesus Christ said that we are to love God with our whole being, including our minds (Luke 10:27). God tells his people to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

We’re all busy trying to further our lives, and working to make things happen, and we forget that Christ…God…is not only in our life but is our life (Colossians 3:4). Without our God there is no life. Isn’t it a good idea, then, to think about Him?

In Eastern meditation the goal is generally (I confess I am no expert) to lose oneself, and to abandon your individual self and your connection with the world around you. I can see physical and emotional benefit in this. However, God instructs us to love Him with our minds, and as in the case of David, the goal and the focus is not to forget self, but to seek God, to know Him, and to consider deeply who and what He is and who we are in relation to Him.

At least once a day, get comfortable, get quiet, turn the TV and the phone off, and think about God. It’s not about what we want Him to do for us (although He cares). It’s not about us being “spiritual” or babbling to Him. It’s not even really, as some say, about us “listening” to hear what God has to say, except through His written Word. It’s about us knowing that He is there, that He is amazing beyond our comprehension, that He is our creator and sustainer, and that our life is entirely His.

TALKING TO YOURSELF

Up to now I’ve never shared my personal feelings on my blog. That may be partly because I’m in touch with who I really am, and what I’m really like, and how un-like the majority of people I am, and so how few people can tolerate me! As my brother once said to me so succinctly, “You’re weird!”.

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He didn’t realize it, but that was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me. Weirdness has its benefits. Give me “weird” any time…

I remarked to someone the other day on the importance of talking to yourself. In open conversation we all make fun of the practice, but I suspect the reality is that a good many or most of us do it. After all, sometimes it’s the only way to have an intelligent conversation, right? So I said to this person, who I won’t name, that by talking to ourselves we stay in contact with who we really are. We reconcile ourselves to an otherwise hostile world. We organize our thoughts and make them more solid in our consciousness. We pragmatically consider both or all sides of the issues at hand (if we have any sense), and we provide friendship for ourselves which may not otherwise be available. Who can we trust if we can’t trust ourselves?

We may be afraid of being considered to be slightly insane if others see us talking to ourselves, and that’s understandable, because we all feel that those who do so with no self-consciousness at all may well be unhinged in some way. But surely we all have thought-conversations with ourselves, inside our minds, don’t we? It’s impossible not to (I think). And we don’t consider ourselves to be mad for that. So what’s the harm, now and then, with a little one-on-one conversation, when nobody else is around? We talk to our pets, we talk to the television, we talk to the driver in front of us: why not talk to our best friends-ourselves?

Looking at my view count lately, I may well be talking to myself now…

Ah, but someone else is always around-God. Statements like that one make the atheist and the unbeliever become certain that I and others like me are not playing with a full deck. They forget all the many benefits believers with great minds have given the world-men like Pascal, Francis Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Tolkein, C.S Lewis and countless others.

God hears us. In fact, he knows our thoughts, and hears all our words. Herein is one of the potentially huge benefits of talking to ourselves, whether in our minds or out loud. When we do it within the knowledge and control of God’s spirit, and while also talking to our God, we can talk ourselves into a right way of thinking:

…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).