Meditating is something I can almost guarantee that you are already doing and probably don’t even know it! Do you worry? Well, then you are meditating. You talk about your problem. You rehearse it over and over in your mind. You imagine the worst case scenario. Worry is just meditation on the wrong things. If you get your mind filled with the word of God and the love and power of your God, there won’t be any room or time for worry to stay a part of your life.
Let’s start by clarifying that there are two different types of meditation. One type is about stillness, quietness and relaxation and I talked about this type in my article, Should Christians Meditate to Reduce Stress? The second type is what we are talking about today and this type of meditation is about you being guided by the Holy Spirit into an encounter with God.
God told Joshua to meditate on the Scriptures day and night, not letting them depart out of his mouth (Joshua 1:8). God wanted the Scriptures to be in Joshua’s mouth all the time. Joshua was to murmur or mutter them to himself so that he could remain courageous. He was to talk or speak them out loud so he could be victorious in entering the Promised Land.
One tactic of the enemy that has been quite effective is to get us to only read Scripture and pray in our heads. Both the reading of Scripture and prayer were designed to primarily be done out loud. There is power in your mouth and Satan knows it so he tries to keep you quiet.
Meditating on Scripture is different than studying Scripture. When we study (which is also very profitable for us), we are engaging primarily our minds in the form of logic. We look at facts, we read definitions and meanings, we look up other Scriptures that are related - all tasks that are going to be limited to man’s knowledge. Meditation may start with some study but it takes the things learned to a much deeper level. It is what I have found is the difference between just reading or studying something and not having it change my life to actually seeing life transformation.
Meditation has no limits as it is guided by the Holy Spirit. It involves both our minds and our hearts (our souls and our spirits). Meditating can go beyond meditating on Scripture to meditating on anything of God such as nature. If you were to lay on your back and look up at the stars and mull it over with God about how big the universe is and how each star is a signal fire of grace, that would be meditating. “I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds.” (Ps. 77:12)
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – Definition of meditation means: To murmur (in pleasure or anger); to ponder, imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter
Let me help you with some steps to get you started on meditating, but keep in mind that this must be guided by the Holy Spirit. It is not a formula to follow or steps to check off.
If it isn’t a story but more of a concept, mull the concept over with God. For example, if meditating on Matthew 11:28 AMP “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.].” Imagine or picture yourself weighed down, exhausted, burdened (I know easy to do, right?) coming to Jesus. Picture Him taking the weight from you that you were never meant to carry. Picture you pulling out rocks from a heavy backpack and placing them at Jesus’ feet and notice after each rock how much lighter and freer you feel. Literally, live the verse in your imagination and feel the effect.
5. Ask God what this reveals about Him. Particularly His love. What does this verse or this story show you about His nature, His ways and His will?
6. Ask God how this applies to you. God is not trying to hide anything from you. He is trying to get information to you. He is more excited about you encountering Him and experiencing His goodness than you are.
7. Act on the word. Whether that is a command in the Scripture or something God revealed to you personally while meditating, do it. Speak it out loud that you have heard what He has said and you will be diligent to do it.
This is where the “roar” definition of the word to meditate comes in. After building your hope and faith through the imagination step and talking with God about it, you are now ready to roar at the enemy and say that God’s word will reign in your life. “For the Lord has said to me, As the lion or the young lion growls over his prey - and though a large band of shepherds is called out against him, he will not be terrified at their voice or daunted at their noise - so the Lord of hosts will come down to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hills.” (Isaiah 31:4 AMP) Picture God standing over you roaring like a lion at anyone who tries to come near you as if to say, “This one is mine, get away!” We join in on His roar in this step and the enemy flees.
I also encourage you to write down what God shows you during your time of meditating. When you get into the flow of the Holy Spirit write the thoughts that come to mind. You can go back later and check them against Scripture to see if they were really of God. God's voice is going to sound like your voice, like just your thoughts. It won't sound like a man's booming or deep voice. Stay in the flow of the revelation He shows you and write it down.
One more helpful hint for you when meditating...be open to seeing the verse from a different viewpoint than you have ever seen it. Another one of Satan’s schemes that is pretty effective right now is that people aren’t willing to discuss spiritual things. They say it is private between them and God. They get in fights about spiritual discussions. They can’t defend why they believe the way they do, so they don’t want to discuss it. They aren’t willing to look at it from other angles and viewpoints with the potential that they could learn something. God might want to discuss a verse with you and show you the true meaning behind it that goes completely against what you were taught. You need to be open to the revelation He wants to bring your way. Of course, Satan would like to steer you off the path too, so if you learn something new you need to have it backed up by other Scriptures and you may want to discuss it with another spiritually mature person.
For example, if you have been taught that you never know what God is going to do - He may heal you or He may not - when you read a Scripture about how by Jesus’ stripes you were healed, God will want to show you as you meditate on that verse, the truth of that Scripture. You may have to confront old religious ideas of man with the truth of Scripture. But you are up for that, right?
Meditation is something that you do continually. “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Ps. 119:97) Although it can be helpful to have separate set apart time in a quiet room to meditate, it can/should also happen as you drive, wash the dishes or take a shower.
Meditation can include your complaining about problems and mourning over sin. God can handle it all and will be able to take those emotions and show you the truth about them in Scripture. Meditating can help you get things turned around in the right direction. You often see King David starting a psalm with complaining and fear and ending it with praise to God. Right now, God is showing me to talk with Him and meditate over some of the things that the Bible says are ours but we seem to be struggling to see manifested in our lives. It should be easier. I want everyone to know that there is a God and that He wants to be active in their lives and that He is good. But many people don’t know that, right? So, I’m meditating that with God. I’m imagining what it would be like to have healing come easier, for example, as we pray with people. It is through this meditation process with God that we get answers to what we are seeking.
Meditation brings us revelation that transforms our lives. We become more like Jesus and we become a radiant expression of God here on earth that makes others wonder what we know and gives us the opportunity to point them to Jesus. It is also vital 1) to our practicing the awareness of God’s presence in our life (which is where everything you need is), 2) to really getting to know God personally, His will and His ways, 3) to enjoying better health, 4) to having less stress, worry and fear and 5) to experiencing His peace, joy and rest.
I hope you start this practice of meditating today and tell me the many benefits you experience from your encounter with God!
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." (Ps. 19:14)