No.357. Thanksgiving and Meditation

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No.357. Thanksgiving and Meditation

We hear and read alot in the media these days about the value of meditation and its value to human wellbeing. We also know that meditation is a biblical concept, and that Godly, biblical mediation is of great benefit to us, not only to our wellbeing and peace of mind, but also in our walk with the Lord and our growth as believers. David was on to it long before other religions and philosophies started talking about meditation. Don’t believe that they invented meditation. For example in Psalm 9:16 the verse concludes with “Higgaion, Selah” Higgaion in the AV and Amplified margin is ‘meditation’. Selah in the Amplified margin is “pause and calmly think about that”.

This is a key to biblical meditation. It is not emptying your mind, trying to have a blank canvas and using something like music or chanting to achieve this. Biblical mediation has been well described as being like a cow chewing the cud. You sit, stand, or walk, just like a cow, calmly chewing over what the Lord in His word has said to you today, this week, this year, and all your life with Him. (see Matthew 13:52) Like the cow you regurgitate the good food you have eaten over the days, weeks and years from the Lord throughis wordHis word,  His word, and chew over it, extracting more sweet nourishment. “Pause and calmly think about that” Not “pause and try and think about nothing”. The “that” which God’s word says, and has said, is vital to healthy meditation. You don’t see a cow chewing on an empty mouth.

Another helpful observation I heard many years ago from a great bible teacher was the ideathat it is much easier for the Holy Spirit to bring back to my memory and attention something that I have previously read in the bible. Whereas if I have never read it, it is ‘harder’ for us to be ‘reminded’ about it. So keep reading to feed your meditations!

Where does thanksgiving fit in with this? Well Psalm 104:34 seems to have a pointer for me “My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord” (AV) or “May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord” (NIV). It seems very likely that thanksgiving will set my meditations off on a good track. I think healthy meditation will involve alot of thanksgiving entwined in it all the way through. As we have reflected previously thanksgiving is closely allied to remembering all the Lord’s goodness and promises, and that is a very fruitful area for ‘chewing’ the cud in meditation.

As the hymn goes “His love in times past, forbids me to think, He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink”. But if I don’t remind myself of ‘His love in time past’ by regularly remembering it, ‘regurgitating’ it and chewing on it in thankful meditation, then I risk slipping downhill in my spiritual life. Similarly meditation without thanksgiving is more likely to go off down rabbit trails of discouragement, diminishing faith, and even encouraging hopelessness about myself and my life circumstances.

We recently reflected on the value of a journal in facilitating a lifestyle of thanksgiving. I think that it is important to differentiate a journal from a diary. Diaries can often contain and chronicle many of the negatives of my current life and experience, as well as the joys, and they don’t necessarily look at the way forward and how to deal with the stuff of life, and how to rise up, grow and go forward. Journals too will record my battlegrounds, my tough times, my fears and maybe my struggles and my defeats. But a believer’s journal will also be looking at what the Lord is doing and saying into my life, how my faith and walk with Him can grow in the stuff of life, how He is developing me as His disciple, working in all things for my good and making me more like Him. It is a journal because it is about the journey. In the New Testament the Christian Life was described as the way, Acts 9:2, 19:23, and of course Enoch “walked with God,” Genesis 5:22,24.

In conclusion then thanksgiving is so important in both these interlinked areas of my Christina life. It is such a powerful force in informing my journal writing, and reflecting, and growing in faith. Likewise Thanksgiving has such a big part to play in christian meditation both as an important starting point and primer, and as a vital ongoing fuel and ingredient in my meditations.


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