What comes to mind when you hear the word “meditation”? Do you think of deep breathing exercises, emptying the mind, sitting in silence, or listening to meditative music alone in a dim room? Well, meditation can include the aforementioned but to me there is more to meditation.
To meditate, according to Oxford Dictionary, is “to think deeply or focus ones mind for a period of time in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual purpose.” Meditation includes thinking and speaking. For some, meditation is sitting in silence and emptying the mind. I believe we should not empty our minds when we meditate instead we should fill our minds with good, peaceful and positive thoughts. Meditation has the ability to change our thinking and our speech over time, if we meditate intentionally and habitually.
The Psalmist in Psalm 1 wrote:
“Blessed is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down where the scornful gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
The Most High told Joshua that:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.”
The word meditate does not only refer to thinking. In fact, in Psalm 1:1-2 and Joshua 1:8, the Hebrew term for “meditate” is hagah which means to speak. The Psalmist wrote that one is blessed when their delight and desire is in the law of the Lord and they meditate on it day and night (meditating on the law as a habit, a daily ritual). Not only does he or she think and ponder on the law of God, they speak it as well.
In Joshua 1:8, The Most High told Joshua to not let the law depart from his mouth and that he should meditate on it day and night (habitually). As the commander-in-chief and successor of Moses, He was to speak the law, it was to be on his lips and in his mouth day and night (habitually) so that he could make wise decisions.
When we think on and speak certain things it has the power to influence us. What we say and what we think has power. Joshua was instructed to think on and speak the law. His life changed and he had success because he made decisions according to the Wisdom of God, which he habitually meditated on.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
The Psalmist desired that what he spoke and what he thought would be acceptable in the sight of God. He knew that these two (thought and speech) can have a major impact on the state of a man or woman. The meditation of the heart is not referring only to the organ heart. The heart is the center in which we think and reflect, our inner man, it is our mind. Meditation helps train our inner man. The Psalmist tells us:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true and righteous altogether…Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-9, 11
The Psalmist meditated on the precepts of the LORD. He understood that the commandments of God are for correction (changing our inner man) and when we keep them we will be rewarded (eternally changed). The Psalmist meditated on the precepts of God and was enlightened by them and forever changed. Meditating on the things of God and positive things can be rewarding.
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, and leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”
Isaiah said that God keeps us in perfect peace when we focus our minds on Him and we obey and trust Him. As children of the Most High, we are to carry ourselves differently. Our minds should be focused on God and the things of God. When we do this God promises to keep us, protect us, and give us His divine peace.
When we focus our mind on certain things it has the power to affect us even unaware. Even what we speak can have the same impact because what we speak comes forth from our inner man (our hearts). This is why meditation should be intentional. We should intentionally focus our thoughts on the change we desire. Whether it is to be more happy or to have more faith, we should train our minds to think on those things.
Scripture tells us:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Again, we should be intentional. Romans 12:2 tells us to be “transformed.” Transformation is not always an instant process, we must act. We should put forth the effort to transform. He said we should no longer be “conformed” (doing what is socially acceptable and what is comfortable) but be “transformed.” In other words, we should put away our old way of thinking, speaking, and actions and we should do so intentionally (putting in the work to change). As children of God, we are called to change our former thinking and speech. We should no longer think and speak evil, cruel or pessimistic things. We are to think and speak positive and optimistic things. We are to speak life and hope.
Philippians 4:8 says:
“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things.”
Philippians 4:8 tells us that we should put forth the effort to think on excellent and positive things. We should put a stop to playing our past hurts in our minds, our insecurities, or our unbelief. We should rather as Philippians 4:8 says, think on good things and take account of them. We can do so by setting our mind on these things through the practice of meditation.
In conclusion, I believe meditation is not just sitting on the floor doing deep breathing exercises (which is helpful). To me meditation includes us thinking and speaking. When we change our thoughts and speech we really do change our lives. Our lives will transform. A great way to practice this is by meditating daily. It takes action on our part to change how we think and what we speak. Our lives will change when we decide we want to change.
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