The Discipline of Meditation

Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word.

Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, Chapter 2

Meditation is a discipline that many Christians don’t understand, or have an incorrect understanding of. The meditation talked about in popular culture involves clearing your mind and releasing negative energy. It is often associated with Yoga and other physical disciplines. There is often an emphasis on becoming part of a universal spirituality that everyone practices in their own unique way.

Christian meditation has a very different purpose from other forms of meditation. The goal is to become united with God, filling our mind, heart and spirit with God’s love, peace, joy and hope. Christian meditation can include focusing on scripture, a song or a prayer.

Hearing God’s voice is often misunderstood as well. Up until a few years ago, I always thought that hearing God’s voice was something only the super-spiritual Christians could do, as though it was a gift or a skill that came with time. I now realize that hearing God’s voice is something we, as believers, must be doing all the time. God speaks through countless things, such as family, friends, scripture, nature, pain (especially pain), sorrow, prayers, songs… the list goes on.

Obeying God’s word can be thought of as an active meditation. Sitting and meditating on God’s word is only one part. Meditation is not at all useful if I get up from my meditation and go right on neglecting the presence of God in my life. Active meditation through obedience is the point of meditation in the first place. We meditate on God’s word so that we will hear it, believe it, understand it and obey it.

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