Summary: A series of sermons using "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster. A top 10 for any Christian’s book shelf.
CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE: MEDITATION
We are faced with enemies in our lives that we often to not recognize. I remember one day, in college, walking into one of my friend’s rooms to find the television on, the radio on, his computer was on, his roommate and another were talking, and he himself had headphones on and was listening to music while reading a book. Is it possible that he absorbed anything he was reading? I doubt it. The enemies I am talking about are noise, hurry, and crowds. Any of these things can attack us at any moment and busy our minds. Carl Jung, a psychiatrist, once said that, “Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil.”
Constantly every day we are bombarded with busyness. I remember listening to NPR news recently and they had a report on cell phones and driving. They were commenting on how lawmakers may soon outlaw using a cell phone while diving. Critics of this kind of law say that you should then outlaw putting on makeup, eating, billboards, radios, and anything else that can distract a person while driving. The busyness surrounding a person distracts them from their primary job of keeping their eyes on the road and their mind on the wheel.
Why should we think it any different in our spiritual lives? Are their distractions or enemies that plague us so that our minds and hearts are cluttered so that our primary job of keeping our mind, heart, and body on Christ is lost? Absolutely! What things make your life crowded? Is there a desire in your heart to calm things down so that you can hear the voice of God and be centered on Him?
READ PSALM 1:1-3
I. THE UNFOUNDED APPREHENSIVENESS TOWARDS MEDITATION
The answer to our question of busyness is the discipline of meditation. I realize, because I have the same concerns, that we don’t necessarily connect Christianity and meditation. We connect meditation with Buddhism or New Age ideas or Yoga, but not Christianity. I want you to know, however, that the Bible is full of passages about meditation. The OT alone has 58 references to “meditation.” All of these times refers to a listening of God’s word, a reflection of God’s works, a rehearsing of God’s deeds, and more… all of these leading to repentance and obedience, which is essential in Biblical meditation.
We can look at passages like 1 Samuel 3:1-18, 1 Kings 19:9-18, Matthew 14:13, and tons more to find that meditation is an important part of a godly life. We should not be afraid. We should not be unsure. I also do not want you to think that you have to do this. It is simply a discipline that Scripture teaches that I want to bring to your attention so that you are aware and can perhaps move to begin practicing.
II. WHAT IS CHRISTIAN MEDITATION?
Christian meditation is simply the ability to hear God’s voice and obey His Word. It is
no more complicated than that simple definition. It requires no secret knowledge, no mysteries, no mantras, and no mental gymnastics, but it does require one thing… practice.
Another way of describing meditation is to call it contemplative prayer. It is a calming of our minds and hearts so that God’s voice can be clearly heard. Our God is alive and is constantly seeking us out to have a relationship. Meditation calms us so that we can do just that, have a relationship with God.
Another way of describing meditation is inward fellowship. It is this kind of inward fellowship that will transform who you are and your personality to be more Christlike. It is connecting with the Holy Spirit which took up residence in you on the day you said, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ!”
Another way (and the last I will mention) of describing meditation is to call it connecting to God. There are so many things in this life that make us feel detached or disconnected. Meditation allows us to connect ourselves to God with our minds (what we’re thinking about), our hearts (what we’re feeling), and our souls (what we’re concerned about). Meditation is connecting to God with our whole self and holding nothing back.
III. THE PREPARATION OF MEDITIATION
A. Time- set aside a specific time to practice
B. Place- find a place that is quiet and free from interruption
C. Posture- no specific posture is talked about in Scripture… comfort and relax
IV. FORMS OF MEDITATION
Christians throughout the centuries have spoken of a variety of ways of listening to God,
of communing with the Creator, of seeking intimacy with God. There are four types of meditation described in The Celebration of Discipline:
A. Meditation upon Scripture- this is the central manner of meditation taught in Scripture. This centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage you read. The words cease to be the lesson you are preparing for Sunday School or the daily devotion you do, but Words addressed to you by the Living God for your life!