For a couple of years Christ-Centered meditation has been steadily developing into a foundational part of my journey with the Lord. For many months I was even writing about meditation and sharing some of those thoughts with others at times. Christ-Centered meditation was becoming so integrated into my daily life and I was experiencing so many benefits, that it was hard for me to remember why someone wouldn’t want to jump right in!
But in all the recent upheaval in our lives (albeit change I had been praying for), I was personally REACQUAINTED WITH THE REASONS WE RESIST AND AVOID THE LORD:
In the midst of all this transition, my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to travel to Israel and tour the Holy Land. It was here, that the Lord had my undivided-attention once more. While sailing on the Sea of Galilee, I remembered that Jesus is not a mythical storybook character but a real person who really lived in a real time in history. Standing in the Garden of Gethsemane, I touched the leaves of the olive trees He may have leaned upon while praying. At the Garden Tomb, I saw the mountainside that resembles a skull where Jesus may have been crucified. I entered a real 1st century Jewish tomb, like the one where his innocent body was laid after having been mutilated beyond recognition. And we walked the streets Jesus walked after he rose from the dead. Jesus is alive and as real as the ground he walked on in Israel!
So why does this matter? The more I viewed Christ-centered meditation as simply a good Christian habit that I needed to "get back to doing" - it seemed to have a polarizing effect on me - pushing me away in the opposite direction, because I felt like it was a "duty". But when I acknowledged meditation as a real invitation to connect with the real person of Jesus, my heart longed to respond to His call.
In meditation, he simply calls us to pause and pay attention to His presence. There is no self-initiated agenda in this. He is in charge of the time and we don't have to feel any pressure to conjure up spiritual revelation. I found too that meditation is critically linked to being full of His Word inside our hearts. When I wasn't meditating, I generally was not reading the Bible either. I am NOT here to lay a burden on you by saying that every day you have to read a portion of God's Word "or else!". What I am saying however is that, without the truth of His Word filling up our hearts on a regular basis, there is less fresh substance upon which to meditate. When my heart is thriving with his Word, times of meditation are usually FILLED with His voice, images, and stories of His goodness. When my body is malnourished of His Word over a longer period of time, I feel more distracted with my own thoughts and meditation can feel somewhat empty.
He is solely responsible for our transformation because He is the AUTHOR and PERFECTER of our faith (Heb 12:2). We just have to show up. Only He knows what each of your meditation moments will look like. Here are some of the ways He gives to me through meditation:
But it’s never about planning these moments out or being responsible to come up with them. It’s simply about coming to Him with only our hearts to offer. Much like a sheep comes to a shepherd or a child runs to her Abba-daddy. Although it was tough, I am thankful for this season of change and the obstacles I encountered. As a trial often does, it reminded me of the Why behind the What and renewed my passion for Christ and for moments to PAUSE and meditate on HIm.
In the midst of a national crisis, an Old Testament King, Hezekiah, "went up to the house of the Lord...and prayed" (Isaiah 37). He acknowledged the Lord and His faithfulness, and asked him to rescue the nation. The Lord replied, "Because you have prayed..the Lord has spoken." I believe this is true today, but not in an action-reward kind of way. What I hear is that God is always wanting to speak to us...and when we pause long enough to acknowledge Him and listen...HE WILL SPEAK!
He is calling you today...inviting you into the space of an intimate moment with Him. He wants to wrap you in his smile and peace and remind you that there are no demands he is placing on you today, He only wants to give to you. A healthy relationship with Him always starts with Him giving generously and us responding in gratitude and love. Nothing we do is initiated by us...it always starts with Him. There is only ONE HERO IN OUR STORIES, and it is Him!