Unit # 4 - Benefits of Christian Meditation
You will see from this section that Biblical Meditation has numerous benefits and these are just a few. Check out my article 50 Reasons Every Christian Should Meditate to learn about more.
Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Benefits of Christ-Centered Meditation
Over the last 10 years more and more believers have discovered Christian meditation and its role in helping them draw closer to God. While many may think this is a recent trend, a thorough research will show that Christian meditation is nothing new. You can find numerous books, websites, and articles on this subject alone. However, our greatest incentive for Christ-centered meditation can be found right in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 says that if we meditate on God day and night that we will have success and prosperity in life. Don’t be misled. I don’t believe that the success and prosperity Joshua is talking about has to do with acquiring a lot of tangible stuff. Once you reach a certain level of maturity, you realize that things don’t give you lasting pleasure.
I believe that the success God wants us to attain is a fulfilling and thriving relationship with Him. That could look different for every person, but regardless, God knows exactly what we need to fulfill the desires of our heart, even if we don’t. By entering into His presence and seeking Him with all of our heart, God will open the doors of heaven and begin to lead and guide us toward His divine plan and purpose for us. What more could we ask for? We are told that if we “delight ourselves in the Lord, HE will give us the desires of our heart.”(Psalms 37:4) Want to know your true desires, get excited about Jesus. It’s time for Christians to stop seeking after the goods and seek after the Giver, Christ Himself. I’ve heard many ministers say that in the end times only those who spend time in God’s presence and have become intimately acquainted with Him, will be able to stand in face of evil.
Gives God Access to our Heart
We can’t try on our own to be holy. We can’t change anything about our character without grace from God. God is the great physician. He is the molder and we are His clay; however, God can’t mold what we don’t give Him access to. At some point we need to be still and open ourselves to God fully and completely. Dwelling in God’s presence through Christ-centered meditation gives God an opportunity to do spiritual surgery on us to remove the cancerous darkness and sin from our hearts. It also gives God the opportunity to heal the internal wounds and hurts that may have been plaguing us for years. During Christ-centered meditation, often times memories and pains of the past will begin to surface. When this happens, it is our tendency to want to avoid them or push them back into the recesses of our mind. But God wants to expose and heal them by bringing them to the light of His love.
Satan’s agenda is to keep us from spending time with God so we can struggle in our own strength. He wants to keep us weighed down with conscious and unconscious fears. He knows that without the power of the Holy Spirit, we will stay trapped in our own strength and despair.
Listen to the promises in Psalms 91: 1-16 for those who dwell in the secret place of the Lord, His presence. No wonder Satan wants to keep us away from God’s presence.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Promotes Living in the Present Moment
Pervasive through the Bible is the principle that we are to live in the present moment. Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Take no thought for your life.” He encouraged us to NOT worry about tomorrow, but to keep our eyes on the here and now. One of the great values of Christian meditation is its ability to help us to live each day at a time. Living in the present moment means being fully alive and fully aware of right now. It also means being fully aware of God’s presence. If we are caught up in mental daydreams, worries of the past, or anxieties of the future, we are not available for God to use us. We miss out on many opportunities for God to use us or even talk to us. There have been so many incidences where after the fact, I thought, wow, if I was in tune with the Holy Spirit, I could have prayed for or ministered to that person.
Satan wants to keep the lines of communication between us and God, dim, dull or, better yet, non-existent. He does that by keeping our minds wrapped up in the cares of this world or bombarded with mental chatter. The best way to break this cycle is to regularly abide in God’s presence. As we do, the Holy Spirit will become larger in our lives. Then we can experience intimate fellowship with Him, not just in church, but all day long.
If the voice of God has become dull in your life, it’s time to allow God to wash away all of the conflicting voices so you can hear Him more clearly. Throughout Scripture when God had something to say to an individual, He spoke in a still, small voice. If your mind is filled with constant noise, God’s voice is going to be drowned out most of the time. Getting still before the Lord in meditation will help you to quiet your thoughts and create a greater sensitivity to God’s voice.
Control or Eliminate Negative Thinking and Toxic Emotions
What is the greatest battle of every believer? It is the battle of the mind. Jesus emphasizes throughout Scripture that we must RENEW our minds. The Bibles says that our minds are wicked, depraved, deceived, easy led astray, worldly, sinful, and create constant inner conflict. For further study read the following Scriptures: Romans 1:28, Ephesians 4:23, 2 Corth 11:3, Romans 12:2, Romans 7:21-23. If you are not in control of your thoughts, then they are in control of you. Many believers suffer from negative thoughts and compulsive thinking. That means they can’t turn off the faucet of thoughts parading around in their heads. Their minds go on and on like a broken record. It interferes with their sleep. It causes them to live in a state of worry, anger, need, and other toxic emotions. It robs them of God’s peace. Practicing regular meditation teaches believers how to take authority over their thoughts, quiet their minds, and dis-identify with faulty mindsets which will lead to a clearer mental path to God.
Cast All Your Cares Upon the Lord
1 Peter 5:7 declares, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” If your life is characterized by constant activity, you may be holding onto cares and burdens that God wants you to turn over to Him. A daily quiet time with the Lord provides us with a wonderful opportunity to unload the cares of the world, our stress, and concerns. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If you are not taking advantage of this invitation, you are carrying around heavy weights that God would be better equipped to deal with.
Greater Intimacy with God
Does God seem like a distant force in your universe? You have a personal relationship with Christ but maybe you’re feeling a little disconnected from Him. Is the joy you felt when you were first saved now a dimly, flickering light? Psalms 46:10 tells us to “Be still and…know God.” The Scripture also says, “In God’s presence is fullness of joy.” If you want to experience a deeper relationship with God, meditation can help you to enter into God’s presence and abide in His love. Read this beautifully inspired message from the Jesus Calling:
“When you approach me in stillness and in trust, you are strengthened. You need a buffer zone of silence around you in order to focus on things that are unseen. Since I am invisible, you must not let your senses dominate your thinking. The curse of this age is overstimulation of the senses, which blocks out awareness of the unseen world.
The tangible world still reflects My Glory, to those who have eyes that see and ears that hear. Spending time alone with Me is the best way to develop seeing eyes and hearing ears. This to be aware of unseen things even as you live out your life in the visible world.” – Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Overcome Destructive Habits and Behaviors
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” - Romans 7:21-25
Do you have some addictive habits or behaviors you’d like to overcome? Most people are always gravitating to something to make them feel better. I call it self-medication. We have a problem being still with our own thoughts. We’re afraid of where they might lead us, especially if we’ve buried years of hurt and pain. Regular meditation can help you to break the cycle of looking outside of God’s Spirit within you for happiness. It can help you to release the restlessness that causes you to seek fulfillment in all the wrong places: food, drinks, church (yes even church), relationships, recreation, power, things, money, and more. As I stated earlier, entering into God’s presence allows God to administer what we need for lasting change. God can break habits and addictions that we can’t, if we will just make ourselves available to Him.
Promotes Physical Health
Studies show that 95% of all diseases are worsened by stress. Stress has become the underlying precursor of most illnesses. Meditation is one of the best methods to reduce or alleviate stress in your mind and body. Many doctors are now encouraging their patients to incorporate meditation in their lives as it has been linked to overall physical health. Here is a list of a few of the physiological benefits of meditation: decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, increases oxygen in the body, relaxes the muscles, reduces intensity of pain, increases exercise tolerance, harmonizes the endocrine system, and normalizes ideal weight.
Inner Cleansing and Purifying the Heart
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”- Matthew 5:8
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
1 John 1:5 declares, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” One thing is for sure, we all have a sin problem. When left to our own devises, we all have a tendency to be lured towards “the dark side.” It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can walk in the light of God’s love, purity, and righteousness.
Psalms 51: 7-12 signifies our need for God’s cleansing touch:
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Within these verses, David is putting the onus on God to change, cleanse and purify his heart. He also begs God not to remove His Holy Spirit from him because he knows that it is through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that transformation takes place. Continually submitting ourselves to God’s light can allow Him to cut away and blot out the darkness and iniquity that often lingers in our heart. If we want to see and experience God, a pure heart is one of His requirements.
Dying to the Self
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die everyday.” We all need a daily dose of dying to the self as we all have certain penchants, attitudes, and traits that we battle with and need to “keep” under the subjection of Christ until we have been completely delivered from them. Some of us have penchants towards anger, selfishness, or self-pity. Generally, these are just bents or coping mechanisms that we often grow up with. When we don’t keep them in check, though the power of God’s Spirit, it will always be our tendency to nagivate towards these behaviors when pushed or in a crisis situation. The process of spiritual healing, deliverance, purification, and transformation is not a one time activity.
Reset of the Mind
We are also bombarded daily with anti-God propaganda thats main purpose is to pull us away from the kingdom of God to establish our own. If we are not constantly returning to the well of life, before long, we can become immune to ways of the Lord. It’s so easy for us to forget God’s power and goodness when we aren’t continually spending time with Him. How can we expect to walk DAILY through wickedness and NOT be affected by it? As Charles Stanley once said, “It’s just going to get on us.” Entering into God’s presence is like a shower of the mind and heart. It washes away the evil attachments and debris we might of picked up during the day. Anything from watching the news to an emotional conversation with a friend can cause us to lose our peace. No matter what I do, the enemy is always trying to bring condemnation or make me feel less than. When this happens, I run, not walk, to get into God’s presence and get Satan’s lies off of me. Jesus is the best counselor there is and I love to pour my heart out to Him. He understands and is delighted when we come to Him for help.
Satan will use any opportunity to poison our spirit and create heaviness of heart. As you come into your quiet meditation with God, ask Him to remove the spiritual and mental garbage you picked up during the day. Dying daily to deception, negative thoughts, and false mindsets will help you to begin or end your day easily casting off the fiery darts in the spiritual atmosphere before they become all out flames. The Bible says that satan prances around as a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. His tactics and attacks are very subtle. We can subvert them by submitting ourselves to the Lord for a daily death of the self and allowing Him to wash off the mulk and the mire before it can penetrate our soul and become a stronghold.
God Tells Us to Seek Him First
Do you really want to know the Lord or are you just satisfied knowing about Him? In Jeremiah 29:13, God declares, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” In reality, God wants to be our constant companion. He wants to cultivate a love relationship with us. However, loving relationships are developed over time by spending time together. Knowing God doesn’t necessarily have much to do with going to church or fellowshipping with the saints. If you really want to know God you must seek after Him. Jesus tell us, in Matthew 7: 7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Jesus wants us to pursue Him with all our heart, soul, and strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. I believe many Christians have a superficial relationship with the Lord. Even Jesus said, in Matthew 15:8, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” And in Matthew 7:21-23, He declared regarding the end of days, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (the unfaithful).” Jesus takes knowing Him seriously.
Another important passage has to do with God’s wedding banquet. Matthew 22 can be indicative of Jesus calling His bride into intimate fellowship with Him, but instead, those He invited made excuses. Have the yearnings of God been calling you into a deeper relationship with Him, but you keep making excuses? Jesus, speaking to the disciples in parables said,
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants (the Holy Spirit) to those who had been invited to the banquet (deeper intimacy) to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
Then he sent some more servants (gentle nudging) and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. And another to his relationships.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.”
Jesus doesn’t want a casual or laissez-faire relationship with His children. He wants an intimate love relationship that comes from spending time and fellowshipping with Him.
Enter into God Rest
Hebrews 4: 1 declares, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience (the children of Israel).”
God never intended for us to work continually. We know that on the 7th day, God rested from all His works. If God took a time out, how much more do we need one? Christ-centered meditation and/or abiding in God’s presence give us that much need time to regenerate our batteries. The children of Israel did not enter into God’s rest because they didn’t have the faith to trust God. Instead they constantly relied upon their own human limitations. Instead of entering the promise land, they wandered around and around in the desert for 40 years. Sometimes that’s how I feel. What about you? It’s like I’m just wandering around in a sea of activity not really knowing my purpose or what God wants me to do. Yet, how can we know if we don’t dedicate time to resting in Him?
Entering into God’s rest means taking a break from all your labor and sitting at the foot of Jesus. Is it time for you to break the Martha cycle who was scolded by Jesus for all her busyness? Luke 10:14 reads,
“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
As Christians, we must resist a “Martha spirit” at all cost. Resting in God’s presence is one of the best ways to break the busy cycle.
Break Worldly Attachments
Jesus told us in John 15:19 “to be in the world but not of the world.”
1 John 2:15 reads, “ Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Satan is the great deceiver. If he can get our eyes off of Jesus and on the attachments of the world, he has us. Attachments, sometimes referred to as idols, come in many forms: careers, work, relationships, church, food, activity, recreation, etc. Many believers would not see these as idols, but an idol is anything we put before the Lord, and we ALL have at least one that we struggle with.
God can use the time we spend with Him in quietness to break the chains of worldly attachments and idols. Whenever we say “no” to our flesh and “yes” to spending time with God, we strengthen our spiritual muscles. The more time we spend with the Lord and experience real contentment, attachments begin to lose their grip on us. In fact, we also begin to lose our desire for them. Of course we can love our families and our jobs, but we know that God is the true source of our joy, peace, and contentment, and we learn to put them in the right perspective. Then if or when we lose these things, because our identity and peace have come from an abiding relationship with God, we can bounce back much more quickly.
Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart
Some forms of Christian meditation lend themselves to memorizing the Scriptures. In Psalms 119:11, David said, “I have hidden God’s Word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” We are encouraged not only to read the Scriptures to build our knowledge of God and faith (Romans 10:17), but to meditate on it as well. When we do, it becomes a part of us and the Holy Spirit can bring these Scriptures to our remembrance in a time of need or for encouragement. Psalms 119:15 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” We can use Scripture and passage meditation, which you will practice in this course, to begin to make God’s Word more relevant to us. Challenge yourself to memorize new verses by meditating on them and hiding them deep within your heart. God’s Word is alive and memorizing as well as acting upon God’s Word helps us to grow in spiritual maturity.
There are so many great reasons to become a Christian meditator. Many more than I have covered in this section. But if these haven’t convinced you of the importance of dwelling in God’s presence, then I’m not sure what will.
Activity: Read more reason to meditate, check out 50 Plus Spiritual Reasons to Meditate on the Lord Daily (at www.thechristianmeditator.com)
Module # 1
- From the various Christian meditation benefits listed, which one resonates with you the most?
- Write down which benefits you’d like to focus on during this course and why.
- Say a prayer and ask the Lord to deliver you from any obstacles, attitudes, or behaviors that may be keeping you from growing in greater intimacy with Him.
- Record any additional inspirational messages God may be speaking to you about regarding spending time with Him.