Sunday, February 27, 2011

meditation? but how?

I loved having been given the opportunity to teach during our children's church service this past Sunday.  I love teaching.  But I also love not doing it on a consistent basis, at the moment.  I like to do it enough to simply get my 'fix' and then go back to my life.  (Which is complicated enough without throwing lesson plans into the mix.)

The basic idea was to encourage the children to grow spiritually.  To constantly strive toward spiritual maturity.  God gives us the 'food'.  It's our responsibility to 'eat' it.  And when we don't, we become 'sick'.

One way to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) is to meditate.

Meditate simply means to reflect on; contemplate; to think in a calm and deliberate manner.  It can also mean to empty the mind by focusing on a single object.  (But we aren't going to talk about the 'emptying of the mind' kind of meditation in this post.)

As Christians, what are we to meditate upon?

I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
Psalm 119:15

We are to meditate on God's Word.  

Meaning:  We are to reflect on God's Word.  Contemplate God's Word.  Think about God's Word in a calm and deliberate manner.  We are to fix our eyes on God's Word.

I'll be honest, meditation has always intimidated me.  I knew what it meant.  And I knew I was suppose to do it.  But how?  Do all I do is think?  But I feel if I just think, my mind will trail.  Go in a billion directions.  I'm afraid I'll start thinking about chores, birthday cards to be sent, appointments to be kept, and so on...leaving me to my own devices (which has dangerous potential).

I'm the type that needs a plan.  I'm always looking for practicality.  Give me a practical plan.  How can I realistically apply the necessary principles of the Bible to my (very) realistic (and not-so-straight-forward) life? 

Studying for my lesson, I came across some methods that can be easily applied.  No pen and no paper required (unless you want to and have the time...but I'm not always so lucky).  And not just good for the 1st through 4th graders, either...  

Ways to Meditate

#1  Pick a verse (or verses)

#2  Ask yourself the following questions:
What does this verse say about...

...believing in God?
...praising, thanking, or trusting God for? to pray?
...having a new attitude?
...making better choices?
...doing something nice for others?
...sacrificing for Christ?

The idea of meditation is to reflect, think, and contemplate.  When we 'fix' our eyes on something, we do not look away.  We are not to simply review these questions in our mind during our daily devotions, and then be done with it.  We are to have this in our minds after our devotions, and throughout our whole entire day.  We are to deliberately think about what God is saying in the verse(s).  The questions I gave you are to help you to do that (and the list is not, by any means, exhaustive).

Another idea, if you have the time, is to write the verse(s) on one side of an index card.  Then write the questions on the other side. This way you can carry it with you, throughout the day, until you can learn to do it on your own (index-card-less).

What are some ways which you meditate?  
What are the methods that you've found 
to be practical and helpful 
in your everyday Christian life?  
Please share in the comments section below!
I'd love to hear your ideas.

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Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul. -Unknown