Christian Meditation. You’re either all about it or think that phrase is an oxymoron. Let’s start by distinguishing between the different types of meditation – what they are and what makes them either good or bad. Then, I’ll share what CLEAR Meditation is and give you a free printable so you can start doing it on your own. Spoiler alert: I made up the acronym, so you won’t find this anywhere else!
Christian Meditation v. All Other Forms
Just the word meditation conjures up different pictures in our minds. Maybe you hear it and immediately see someone sitting cross-legged with palms up, hands resting on their knees. Maybe you see a monk. If you immediately see the former, then to you, meditation is when you try to find answers and peace from within yourself. If you see the latter, then to you, meditation is only for those committed to a lifestyle of isolation.
Here’s the true distinguishing factor that makes meditation either good (something we should do) or bad (something we should reject). Just ask the question, “Where is my focus?“
If the focus of our meditation is ourselves – reject. However, if the focus of our meditation is Truth (aka God’s Word and HIS spirit) – accept. Are we trying to find answers from within? Reject. Are we trying to find answers from the Creator of the universe? Accept.
Is “Christian Meditation” Biblical?
You may not realize this, but meditation is mentioned quite a few times in the Bible. Meditation is typically something that shows up in every book on Christian spiritual disciplines, yet in today’s world, it’s overwhelmingly misunderstood.
I don’t claim to be an expert on Christian meditation, but here’s something we can be sure of. Christian meditation is not something we should shy away from. It’s also not something that should confuse us.
Meditation can start with God’s Word. You read it and pause to consider how it applies to your life. The SOAPS Bible study method is a great way of doing that. However, for the sake of this article, our working definition of meditation will be ‘to consider your thoughts and actions and bring them into alignment with God’s Truth.’
Today, our concept of meditation is going to start with us. Here’s a quick example: You’re going through your day and find yourself anxious. You stop and consider, “Something isn’t right here. What does God’s word say about my anxiety?”
The process of CLEAR meditation is something God has had me doing for years. It’s something I have to do regularly to make sure my thoughts and actions are in line with the Truth I profess. Because of that, I trust it’ll be as helpful for you as it has been for me.
The Process of C.L.E.A.R. Christian Meditation
First, you’ll need to pause. This can be very uncomfortable, especially in our world of constant distractions. Our minds are constantly barraged with thoughts – good, bad, and ugly. But how often do we stop long enough to consider them?
Begin the process of Christian meditation by fighting the urge to just move on. Find somewhere quiet and write down the surface-level details of the issue you’re dealing with.
Now, go deeper. What’s REALLY going on?
Here’s an example: In the consider step you write down that you’re feeling anxious. In this step, you ask yourself, “Why?” Answer – I’m anxious because I’m uncertain of my future.
Write down as much detail as you can. Don’t rush through this step. If you can’t figure out the deeper issue, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. Then, wait.
This is where Christian meditation takes a sharp turn away from the meditation you’ll find linked to Eastern religions. We need to immediately stop looking at ourselves and start looking to God and His Word.
What does the Bible say about your situation and thought patterns? If you look toward the back of your Bible you’ll probably find a concordance (a list of words you can find in the text). Look up words that describe your issue – fear, anxiety, trust, anger. If your Bible doesn’t include a concordance, you can use my favorite online resource – Blue Letter Bible.
Write down what you find.
Next, write down how the Bible verses you found actually apply to your life. Did God reveal a faulty thought pattern? Did he show you a process you can go through to combat sin? The Holy Spirit is so personal.
If you’re not sure how God’s word applies, pray. Maybe he won’t show you this minute, but He will.
Now it’s time to respond. Do you need to confess sin? Pray for help? Write out one of the Bible verses you found and post it in your house? God’s Word should always lead to some form of action, even if it’s just resting in Truth.
A Personal Story
I was never a person to deal with anxiety. Sure I would get a little nervous about things, but one day I remember standing in my bathroom and a crushing weight fell on my chest. I was having a hard time breathing and didn’t know what was happening.
By this time in my life, I realized I needed to run to God’s word, so I did. I opened up my concordance, just like I recommend above, and found verses that included the word, ‘anxious.’
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
It was like the Holy Spirit gave me a play-by-play. “Sarah, you’re anxious. Here’s what you need to do.”
- List all the things you’re thankful for.
- Pray, petition, and present your request to God for peace.
So, I did it, and do you know what happened? Just like this passage says, the peace of God (which definitely transcended every ounce of my understanding) wrapped around my heart and mind, and the anxiety left. Gone.
I’ll never forget that moment. It changed my life and showed me the importance of God’s word. It also showed me how personal the Holy Spirit (our helper) is. I want that for you, which is why I put this information together. Learning from other people is good, but relying on God’s word and the Holy Spirit is so much better.
Biblically Sound Resources for Christian Meditation
If you’re looking for additional resources to help guide you in the process of meditation I would recommend two books. Both of them have been incredibly influential in my life. They are…
Just remember, if you read any other information on meditation, the main thing to look for is where they’re telling you to gaze. Inside yourself? Don’t even play around with that. The Bible says you’re broken. Christ’s death and resurrection say you can’t save yourself. As Christians, we should reject anything that tells us to look within. Our gaze should always be set on Jesus.
Because there’s a better way,
question: what has been your understanding of meditation? did this article change it at all?
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