Un articol de sfaturi practice.
But we need to say more about “secret meditation,” or private meditation. Meditation involves a process. It’s not a switch to flip on. You don’t just meditate. Meditation is the goal and apex of Bible intake, and as a middle (often forgotten) habit, it involves lead-up and follow-up. You move into it, and move out of it.
Biblically, we find two kinds of meditation. One is spontaneous. It’s the kind of meditation that happens as we live and go about the day. Psalm 19:14 prays, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (also Psalm 49:3). That could be during the day (“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day,” Psalm 119:97), or Psalm 63:6 speaks of remembering God and “meditat[ing] on [him] in the watches of the night” (also Psalm 77:3; 119:148).
Another kind of meditation, we might say, is more focused, or intentional, or guided by God’s words. Genesis 24:63 tells of Isaac going “out to meditate in the field toward evening.” Joshua 1:8, as we’ve already seen, says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night . . .”
So too say many psalms. Psalm 1:2: the wise man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 119:48: “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” Psalm 119:15: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” This is word-guided meditation.
And while the New Testament may not use the same precise language of meditation, it does speak of setting the mind or fixing the mind (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33; Romans 8:5–7; Philippians 3:19). Perhaps most significant is Colossians 3:2: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
“What we choose to meditate on, we will gravitate toward meditating on in our spare moments.”
And these two kinds of meditation are related. Focused or intentional meditation — that is, meditation that we choose — leads to spontaneous meditation, the meditation that seems to happen to us as we go about our lives. What we choose to meditate on, we will gravitate toward meditating on in our spare moments.
Our focus here is on intentional, focused meditation. Having made time for such meditation, and found an undistracting place for such meditation, how might we go about pursuing it?
First is pace. By that, I mean read at the pace of the text and of understanding, and enjoyment. For most of us, this is a slower pace (perhaps a far slower pace) than we default to when reading other texts in our lives. In our age of accelerations, technology and society condition us to read faster and faster. But the Bible, as an ancient book, was written slowly and carefully to be read slowly and carefully. So we begin with an unhurried reading (and re-reading) of God’s word.
Second, then, is pause — or meditation proper. Having read the biblical text, we now pause over it to meditate on it. Without moving on, we want to go deep in this phrase or verse or idea, letting the words themselves lead us. That we not only have words in us, but we are in the words. Now what? Consider three encouragements about meditation.