There are so many images, questions, and assumptions that come to mind when we discuss meditation. The word alone conjures images from Yoda in Star Wars to Eastern religion symbols, a Bible believer to a flower-power hippy, and for me, images of the wise turtle Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda. Before God initiated my discovery of Christ-centered meditation, I thought it was for people in Eastern religions and yoga instructors. If I did hear Christians mention meditation, it was usually stated as "prayer and meditation", absent of any distinct characteristics or definition.
But I discovered meditation DOES have it's own unique characteristics. I found that it has a history both in scripture and in Christian tradition, and many of us are interested in reclaiming this lost art of meditation. So as that Phillip Phillips' song goes..."Hold on to me as we go, as we roll down this unfamiliar road".
A word study on meditation reveals the following:
What can we meditate on?
When can we meditate?
Where can we meditate?
How can we meditate?
Other action verbs mentioned regularly with meditation:
These scriptures set up our framework for understanding meditation. Scripture, or God's Law, is the foundation of our meditation practice. And because the whole of scripture points to Jesus, we understand that meditation is Christ-centered.
Other scriptures have helped shape this journey in my life as well.
Just as we may raise our hands during a worship song, signifying that we are surrendered to God, so to, meditation is an outward action representing a spiritual choice:
One scripture in particular has established this practice of meditation firmly in my life.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
This scripture describes our new-covenant access into the deepest levels of intimacy with our Creator. Through Christ, his life and sacrificial death, there is no barrier between God and me (or any believer). We now have unlimited access to His presence. Furthermore, beholding God's glory brings about TRUE TRANSFORMATION, providing a way for us to look more and more like Jesus while still here on Earth. For me, the importance of meditation lies in this scripture. We spend time authentically engaging God and beholding (seeing and contemplating) Him (his character, truth, promises, and works) and consequently a Spirit-initiated transformation takes places internally which leads to transformative true Christian living. Every Christian wants to live transformed, but not everyone is sure how to get there.
Christ-centered, scripture-based meditation is the antidote to self-reliant behavior modification! Meditation can look different for different people and the focus is never about regimenting posture, words, or music. But it should be considered as much more than just a take-it-or-leave-it supplemental spiritual activity. Meditation gives us undistracted time to SEE Him and His truths, leading us to BELIEVE deeply in our hearts as we experience it in our spiritual imaginations and consequently, to LIVE transformed by His Spirit.