Christians often differentiate Biblical meditation from that of Eastern mysticism by pointing out that it is filling one’s mind rather than emptying it. We should go a little further with this. Meditation is not just filling the mind with facts. It is also applying those facts to one’s life, allowing them to shape, mold, and change. Meditation is like piling burning coals around an iron ingot until it changes from cold and rigid to hot and malleable. The Christian fills his or her mind with these burning, living truths and dwells on them until they bring about change. But the question remains: what is the Christian filling his or her mind with?
A quick search in any Bible concordance will show that there are three broad categories that the Bible puts forth as subjects for the meditation of a Christian – what God has done, what God has said, and Who God is.
What has God done?
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him, all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Not one atom of creation exists without His permission and constant support. Things that boggle the most intelligent human mind, such as the mysteries of gravity, time, and dimensions beyond perception, are all just the works of His fingertips. The most impressive thing we can think of in creation required no effort on His part. Meditation on what God has done puts all in perspective.
What has God said?
“The Lord said to my Lord, ’Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1).
“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:5).
Meditate on the passages above: the glory promised to Jesus Christ, to be shared with His Church, and that will be revealed at the conclusion of time. How are these truths changing us?
Who is God?
“And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation’” (Exodus 34:6-7).
How can this change us? Do we live like children of a God who is merciful and gracious? Do we live like children of a God who does not tolerate sin in His people?
These are just a handful of the “burning coals” that are found in the pages of scripture, and all of them have the power to transform the minds of those who seek them out and meditate in them.