Saturday, February 26, 2011

Be Still… and KNOW!!

What is meditation? Webster Defines it in the following ways:

1. To engage in contemplation or reflection

2. To engage in mental exercise

With such an array of possibilities, how does a Christian go about meditating? The word “meditate” is used 18 times in the book of Psalms. Is it as simple (or difficult) as emptying your mind, or perhaps finding your happy place? What exactly are we supposed to meditate on? Two weeks ago, our class was challenged to sit and meditate during 15 minutes of class time. We were instructed, not to empty our minds, but to still them. Practically speaking, I don’t see what the difference is. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”, but the class exercise seemed more like a Buddhist search for serenity or a higher state of spiritual awareness. As I looked more into Psalm 46:10, I found that rather than simply commanding a controlled state of inactivity, the word “still” comes from a Hebrew word meaning to “let go” or “release.” So in context, this would look like submitting ourselves to God and admitting that he is sovereign and in control of our lives.

But how is the word “meditate” used in the Bible? Time after time, the Psalmist describes himself as thinking about something; primarily God’s word and his creation. So as Christians, we should release control of our lives and turn them over to God, but when we seek to meditate, we should actively focus our mind on God. And how can we know him? Through general revelation certainly, that is the natural world, but also through the special revelation of God’s word. As Psalm 119:48 says, “I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.”


  1. I do have to agree with your post that I believe that the meditation exercise was similar to what a Buddhist does in Eastern Meditation. I was always taught that Christian meditation was studying, churning, thinking about the Word of God over and over again. This is similar to a cow, in which, the cow chews on grass for awhile before swallowing it, and then bringing it back up to chew on it again. While this is a very nasty mental image, I think this is much more similar to what Christian meditation is supposed to be. Thinking about a part of Scripture (a passage, a theme, an event, etc.), while delving into it, analyzing, consuming it, practicing it, etc. Whereas the other form of meditation seems to be more emotional/experiential based and who knows where that can lead too.

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  3. Great post. I believe though that meditation (contemplative reflection) on God's truth is a necessary condition for submission (letting go) to occur. Otherwise, such submission would be unfounded and disingenuous.

    I like the distinction you make between being still and meditating. I referenced Psalm 46:10 in another comment elsewhere in relation to meditation as it applies to the statement above. I agree that emptying the mind is not the type of meditation in which a Christian should be engaging, but more in the sense of active reflection and contemplation of Scripture.

  4. Interesting post. You make a good point in that simply "emptying the mind" during a time of meditation or being still doesn't really seem to be what we're commanded to do in scriptures. I like how you used the original Hebrew to define the word still. It really refreshing to know that as we spend time simply being in God's presence, that we are able to "let go" and "realease" everything in our lives to Him, because we know that He is God over all.

  5. Thank you so much for looking into the meaning of these terms! It definitely adds insight to the biblical command of meditation that has been so skewed by other religions...almost to the point where Christians are hesitant to say that they meditate for fear that they will be dubbed a heretic! Your post just goes to show how important it is to define terms clearly. Good work.


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