"Meditate on these things"
For most individuals the basic meaning of meditation has been overshadowed. To meditate was to think about a particular concern, sort out the pros and cons and, hopefully, come to a conclusion. Not so today!
Being imported from the East, Western Society's "meditation" derives from various versions of Hinduism or Buddhism.
They are promoted generally as helping its practitioners to cope with the pressures of daily living, or simply as being beneficial.
Here's a brief description from The Wikipedia Meditation page:
A web search of the word "meditation" shows more of this, plus advertising teaching retreats.
This meditation is spiritual and potentially dangerous. The danger is that demonic forces could easily enter into those who open themselves to it, giving themselves to it.
The only truly beneficial and completely safe meditation is Christ's New Covenant Kingdom meditation. Jesus said:
"The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life," John 6'63.
So let's hear Him!
New Covenant Kingdom meditating is different. When Saints meditate on the word of Christ the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) becomes involved.
But one of the crucial basics of Kingdom meditation is this exhortation:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ..." Colossians 3'16.
This provides a store for recall which, when ministered through the Spirit, causes growth of the whole Body as Colossians 3'16-17 goes on to say:
"... teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".
GOD USES MEDITATION
Kingdom meditation is one of the ways our Father meets us personally. And it can happen anywhere, anytime. By meditating we put ourselves in a place where the Holy Spirit is able to speak.
It requires no set time, ritual, no songs, no actions, no charms, no special mantras or forms of words. But meditating in a place where distractions cannot interrupt is preferable.
Believers know from Hebrews 4'12 that the word of God is "living and powerful" and is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".
Meditating on the word of Christ can surprise, be refreshing, or challenging, or give experiences of the Lord's spirit and life.
The Lord also works in a similar way to meditating at certain times of reading His word. The Holy Spirit moves to make the reader unusually alive and powerfully impressed in some way.
Note: Sometimes a Believer describes this as "God quickened His word to me". But it is actually the other way round!
In addition, meditation may relate specifically to a spiritual concern.
THE PEACE OF GOD
Due to the pressures of daily living, a sense of peace and relaxation seem to be at the forefront of things that people want from "meditation".
Born-again Believers know they have peace with God through Christ. With their deep knowledge of being reconciled to, and one with, God the Holy Spirit brings to Believers a mighty peace.
Nevertheless, there are times when certain circumstances tend to disturb them. At these times there is the peace of God. And we can receive it.
It may, but does not necessarily, come from meditation. Jesus said to disciples:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," John 14'27.
And for the Believer's part Paul says by the Holy Spirit:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God ..."
"... the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," Philippians 4'6-7.
Therefore, "... let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful," Colossians 3'15.
And what's more:
Our Father "... gives grace to the humble.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
casting all your care upon Him,
for He cares for you," 1 Peter 5'5-7.
LEARNING NOT TO THINK?
There is an overarching principle the Lord has set in place in regard to all the things of Christ and the Kingdom. And meditating is a particulary vulnerable area.
The emphatic principle (or command?) for all Believers is: "not to think beyond what is written".
1 Corinthians 4'6 says:
"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written ...".
By bringing the focus of his words on himself and Apollos, Paul is emphasising the primary place of the person who is the messenger, an Elder or preacher, for instance.
Everywhere in the Bible (but especially in the Christ-Kingdom writings of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22) a person's message should be upheld by their character, not compromised by their conduct.
"Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern," Philippians 3'17.
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ," 1 Corinthians 11'1.
"... what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness," 2 Peter 3'11.
Learning not to think beyond what is written implies learning to think within what is written. This can only happen if Believers read, know and live what is written.
As our relationship is with Jesus, in that He lives in us and we live in Him, so it is to be with His word.
To some Jews who believed He said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, John 8'31".
And to His Disciples, "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you ..," John 15'7.
Colossians 3'16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...".
There is a reason for the overarching New Covenant Kingdom principle of thinking within the word of Christ.
It is that:
"... none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other," 1 Corinthians 4'6.
Peter speaks through the Spirit about God's will regarding every aspect of ministry, especially speaking the word of Christ:
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.
If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4'11)
Every day "whatever" meditating:
"whatever things are true - whatever things are noble
whatever things are just - whatever things are pure
whatever things are lovely - whatever things are of good report
if there is any virtue - if there is anything praiseworthy
meditate on these things," Philippians 4'8.
Meditating requires focusing, because of the danger of slipping into thinking about problems and negative things. Also, this can easily turn to serious worrying.
Jesus told His disciples "not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer," Luke 21'14. He was referring to the likelihood of them experiencing future persecutions.
It's okay to have concerns - but not have worry.
MEDITATING AND MINISTRY
As has been said meditation makes for meaningful ministry to the Body of Christ. There is much to meditate on and receive from and serve God's Family with.
And it comes from:
1. Knowing the New Testament.
2. Learning about faith, justification, sin, salvation, godliness, etc.
3. Being familiar with the whole Bible.
4. And for practical purposes, memorising the names and order of the 39 Old and 27 New Testament books can be very useful.
As far as translations go, the New King James is good. It is set out in verse form which makes it easier to learn from.
Finally, let's remind ourselves of the necessity of meditating. Timothy had a big job on his hands. He was somewhat younger than the usual for the task. He was encouraged to meditate and "give yourself entirely":
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all," 1 Timothy 4'12-16.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of drawing near to you in meditation. And by it being partner with the Holy Spirit in ministry to your People.
In Jesus' name. Amen.