In my quest for wellness, one of the most surprising things I have learned is that stress can have a profound negative impact on your health. In this post, I share several strategies for reducing that negative impact, but today I wanted to expand on one of the more controversial recommendations.
In nearly every article or book about stress management, meditation is included as a way to reduce stress. However, meditation tends to induce very negative feelings in many people, particularly Christians. I have seen many comments from the Christian community mocking meditation as being silly, or even outright stating that it is mystical and evil. Christianity today calls it “dangerous.”
I avoided considering meditation for many years due to this wariness. After all, meditation is a wicked, dangerous, new age thing, right?
Finally, I decided that instead of listening to popular opinion, I should probably look into it more deeply myself. Because before we say that Christians shouldn’t practice meditation, shouldn’t we know exactly what it is we’re speaking against?
Psychology Today defines it this way: “Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference.”
Hmmm. When you put it that way, it sounds quite harmless. In fact, as I read that definition and others, it all sounded very similar to something else…one of my favorite Bible verses:
You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts you. -Isaiah 26:3
“whose mind is stayed on you…” doesn’t that sound a whole lot like having your attention focused on a single point of reference? And, the Bible tells us this is how we gain peace, which is usually one of the purported goals of meditation.
Psychology today gives us 20 science-based ways in which meditation is good for us…isn’t it awesome when science proves the very things that the Lord has already commanded us?
Taking back meditation.
The danger isn’t in meditation, it’s in what you choose to meditate on.
Instead of looking at meditation as being a negative thing, I propose that we instead take it back to its roots.
As Robert J. Morgan says, “meditation is not new and it is not new age. God, not the gurus, devised it, and it’s based on the Bible, not on Buddha.”
So many good things that the Lord created have been perverted by man’s sinfulness, and meditation is just another thing on that list. Yes, when most experts mention meditation, they are taking the Lord out of it. They are generally speaking of focusing on something worldly, or even a false religion.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and I vote we take it back.
There is no exercise more out of fashion, nowadays, than meditation! Reading is the gathering together of our food, but meditation is the chewing of the cud, the digesting, and the assimilating of the truth of God! I quarry out the truth when I read, but I smelt the ore and get the pure gold out of it when I meditate!
Meditate on the Lord and His word.
What does the Bible say about meditation?
Colossians 3:2 says this, “set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
What wisdom! Modern, new-age meditation focuses on earthly things. God’s word calls us to set our mind on things above. How do we set our mind on something? Through meditating on it.
In fact, I was shocked by just how much the Bible has to say about meditation! God’s word calls us specifically to meditate on certain things, both by using the word specifically and/or by referring to the concept of it.
Here are just a few examples of what the Bible calls us to meditate upon:
- God (Isaiah 26:3)
- God’s word (Psalm 1:2, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:148)
- God’s works (Psalm 145:5)
- Things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)
Give it a try!
So, listen to the experts and add meditation into your daily practices. But don’t focus on earthly things. Focus on things above.
I will leave you with this final verse:
“I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.” -Psalm 145:4
Friends, how different our lives and perspectives would be if we truly spent time each day meditating upon the Lord and the glorious splendor of His majesty!
Related Articles & Resources
- Charles Spurgeon, How to Read the Bible.
- Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation by Robert J. Morgan