Thursday, January 6, 2011

Negative Meditation

The scripture teaches that we should meditate.

"Meditate on these things;" [1 Timothy 4:15]
"...but you shall meditate on it by day and by night..." [Joshua 1:8]
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing..." [Psalm 19:14]

What exactly is meditation?  Is it quieting the mind until you have no thoughts?  No.  Is it sitting Indian style on the floor with thumbs holding your index fingers making strange humming sounds? Not really.  I like to picture mediation as the mind "chewing" on a thought.  Taking time to consider each word and it's meaning and how each word connects to the rest of the words.  Thinking of the idea in relation to who said it, when it was said, why it was said, and how it was said.  God wants us to use the mind he created in us.  Scripture encourages meditation as a positive thing.  It's beneficial!  Meditation on the Word, day and night, WILL CHANGE US!

What about negative meditation?  Is there such a thing?  Absolutely!  It's more commonly known as WORRY.  To worry is to meditate with a foundation of fear that results in stress, anxiety, lack of trust, misdirection, and to top it off - worry accomplishes nothing!

"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"  [Matthew 6:27]

Too often we get the silly idea that worry is the same as concern.  Wrong.  To have concern is to recognize there is a potential problem and to think upon possible actions that can be taken in the here and now.  Worry is just speculation about the 'ifs' of tomorrow of which you have no control.  Another ill fated idea is that worrying somehow means you are taking action.  Nope.  Worry is counter-productive.  It only distracts the mind.  "Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but never gets you anywhere." [Unknown].  

Worry keeps us from putting trust in God.  He cares for sparrows and lilies.  Sparrows and lilies.  Should I say it again?   'Cares for' does not mean that God has a preference for sparrows and lilies, or that He gets a fuzzy feeling thinking about them.  It means that He takes care of them - He provides for their needs.   Do you not understand how INFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE YOU ARE TO GOD, than common sparrows and lilies??

So let's make a plan, for without vision the people perish.  Let's throw out that nasty old negative meditation and replace it with proper meditation.  What should we think about then?

God wants us to think upon Him; to think upon His promises; to think upon His love, His peace, His authority, His victory!  Philippians 4:8 instructs us, "whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things." If we have any chance of successfully meditating on the Word, we must be READING it.  That's step one.

Step two is to be prepared to take captive our thoughts when we are tempted to worry.  All we have to do is remember to pray when those moments arise.  Lord, my thoughts right now are really wanting to fall into worry about (insert issue here), but I know your Word tells me not to worry, so I give this issue to you and thank you that you've already given me the strength to resist temptation and you've not given me a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind.  We cannot win a battle without both defense (prayer) and offense (meditation of the Word).

I leave you with the following medley from Third Day.  Listen to the words, soak in the music, and turn your eyes upon Jesus, for the things of the world will grow quickly dim.

[Click here for excellent message on meditating on the Word.]