speaks praise with joy on my lips—
whenever I ponder you on my bed,
whenever I meditate on you
in the middle of the night—
because you’ve been a help to me and I shout for joy in the protection of your wings”. -Psalm 63:6-7, CEB
“I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.” – Psalm 119:15, NIV
“Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.” – Psalm 119:23, NIV
Christian meditation should never be confused with Eastern Meditation. Instead of “emptying” the mind of thought, Christian meditation engages all of a person’s soul and spirit in reflection and relevance. Recall that someone’s “soul” is uniquely personal. The soul is the sum-total of someone’s personality (i.e., mind, emotions, will and conscience). Each person is uniquely special because of their blended thoughts, feelings, ambitions and moral compass. In Christian meditation, our soul and spirit combine to read God’s Word, reflect on its lessons and, with guidance from the Holy Spirit, relate it to life.
Hagah and Siyach. Two OT words are translated “meditate”. They tell us something of the thoughts and feelings of a person as they meditate of God’s Word and actions. One term, Hagah, is expressive pondering (e.g., pondering + audible sounds). In Psalm 63, above, the psalmist contemplates God’s provision which prompts shouting or singing. In other scenarios, the focused concentration leads to growling, groaning, moaning and more. For the believer, hagah tells of audible reactions to God’s actions. Another term, Siyach, refers to obedient dialogue. In Psalm 119, above, the psalmist meditation is a two-way conversation with God. As often as not, the word ponders God’s action from an obedient complaint. Job meditates (ponders + obediently complaint) on his endless pain and suffering (Job 7:11). For the believer, siyach tells of obedience to God’s actions. Regardless of the reaction (i.e., sounds, awe, obedience, complaints, etc), Christian meditation is a mindful, contemplative discipline that impacts the hearts and souls of believers.
So, Christian meditation is not a mindless effort to reach a euphoric state! More importantly, the goal of Christian meditation is Christlikeness. God, through His Holy Spirit, leads believers to contemplate the thoughts and actions of Jesus. In a sense, we contemplate what Jesus did … so that we are better able to answer the question, “What would Jesus do?”.
“The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you” – Jn 14:26.
As Christlike men, we are responsible to wives, families, friends and associates to think and act like Jesus. To nurture wives, raise children, manage friendships and display ethical judgment, we must meditate on (i.e., read, reflect and relate) what Jesus did (i.e., head knowledge) and how He did it (i.e., heart knowledge)! Through prayer and meditation, the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of ALL the things that Jesus taught, through what He said and what He did, which we should apply to situations we encounter.
Read. Reflect. Relate … “Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Josh 1:8, The Message)