Christian Meditation- Teaching Thursdays Episode 15

Christian Meditation- Episode 15

Teaching Thursdays With Kevin Morris



Christian Meditation

In this passage, the apostle Paul maps out to us this concept of Christian meditation. Before we look at the details of this passage, I want to create a backdrop for us in order to define this meditation more precisely.

Secular Meditation- Passive

While today there are more varieties than ever before on the practice of meditation, there is still a convergence that boils down all practices into the ultimate goal- the perceived results.

Conversations on meditation used to have some relation to Buddhism, but today meditation in the west is promoted as a secular society’s trade secret to personal success. If the popular 1989 book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” were rewritten in the spirit of 21st century secular society, it would surely include meditation as one of those habits.

Simple web searches show that meditation “reduces stress and alleviates anxiety”. Further, it promises to help us come to terms with our inner self and our life’s purpose.


Process:

to clear all the negative (from without) and search deeply to find the good and the right (from within). This makes it a passive exercise wherein we “clear our minds” and “empty our thoughts”.


Goal:

To create our own reality by

  1. Working with oneself,

  2. achieve liberation from suffering, and

  3. cultivate traits of compassion, joy, etc…


Christian or Biblical Meditation- Active


Goal:

To come to terms with reality in Christ

The Bible describes a sharp contrast when it comes to meditation. The OT is especially full of examples where the term is described as contemplation, study, keeping the mind fixed upon. In the Hebrew it is a moan groan or sigh which speaks of that which gets to our very being.

While this might well be what the world speaks of as our inner self, scripture’s announcement is that there is only one thing that has the power to penetrate and expose our inner selves. That is, the word of God (Hebrews 4:12-13).

This is why all the examples in the Bible depict meditation as interacting with God’s word- what the psalmist calls “hiding the word in our hearts”.

It is not like the passive meditation of the world. Instead, it is active.

The meditation of the world teaches us to find our answers within ourselves, eliminating enough outward influences and looking hard enough within.

Rather, we are to look outside of ourselves.

It is without question that our society as sought to define our own reality and submit our own answers from within. That is not surprising.

But what of God’s people? Has the biblical view of meditation become a lost art to you?

The apostle Paul lays out four qualities of this lost art in order for us to gage ourselves.

The Process of Christian Meditation

The Necessity of Meditation v. 1-4 *Union with Christ*

This is a Christian Imperative

  1. Verse 1: The if/then structure of existence

  2. Verse 2: Our being raised with Christ is tied to a mind that considers Christ’s placement: namely Psalm 110

This is paramount to our activity as God’s people. We are to set our minds unto that reality of Christ’s reign

  1. Verse 3: Our being hidden with Christ does not mean we are dissolved or erased, but that we’re kept safely.

This is the crossroads of meditation– in Buddhism the practice of meditation is the means toward the ultimate goal of nirvana, which is the ceasing of self and all desires. This presents a great antithesis to Christian meditation. Notice that in all these things we are with Him- thus our union with Christ Jesus. Christian meditation is a mind towards sanctification, in light of justification, in anticipation of glorification

  1. Verse 4: We do not wait until the resurrection to identify with Him

  2. Our union with Christ is seen in a comprehensive relatability:

First, we have died with Him- Justification. Then, we are raised and reigning with Him- sanctification. Finally, we will appear with him- glorification. Paul has made his thesis in v. 1-4, now he will expound them in v.5-17

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the tings above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Negation of Meditation v. 5-11 *Active Mortification*

It requires ongoing repentance

  1. It was the puritan John Owen who said, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”

  2. Beloved when it comes to sin for the Christian, we are not called to manage our sin, or limit our sin, or budget our sin- but to kill it.

  3. In this passage we’re given a three-fold negation of meditation: v.5 “put to death”, v.8 put away, and v.9 “put off”

  4. Verse 5: Put to Death

This is to regard these things as dead in our minds. Paul includes not only sinful acts but the desire to seek and do them. God’s wrath is coming for murder and hatred, for adultery and lust, for theft and covetousness. It is a regard for sin that is deadly for us, so we must consider them dead.

  1. Verse 8: Put Away

This is to regard them as bound in prison. Our mouths are in view here

  1. Verse 9: Put Off

Disarmed and stripped of power. Paul uses this previously in 2:15

  1. Verse 10: We are all image bearers

The sin of relatability and the idol of transparency. The vanishing virtue of holiness (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

  1. We no longer are to bear the image of the 1st man, but of the second man.

  2. Our new self is that which is renewed in true knowledge

  3. While it was knowledge through the wrong lens that led to our condemnation in Adam, it is knowledge through the proper lens that leads to our glorification in Christ.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the tings above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Result

The Anatomy of Meditation v. 12-15 *Put On*

It is the flourishing of the body of Christ

  1. While negation was all about what we put off, the anatomy of meditation is all about what we must put on. (v.10, 12, 14)

  2. As we are the body of Christ, what we put on speaks of how that body is comprised

  3. Verse 10: Putting on the new self is the mind of Christ

Knowledge- the mind of the body

  1. Verse 12: Putting on as God’s elect is to our new desires

Desires- the character of the body

  1. Verse 14: Putting on love

Love, the skin of the body

  1. Verse 15: Peaceful rule

Peace, the heartbeat of the body

  1. Peaceable meditation on our peace with God: Vertical and Horizontal

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the tings above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Abundance of Meditation v. 16-17 *Rich Supply of the Word*

It is streams of living water supplied to us

  1. The Puritans saw meditation as an essential duty of Christians

This was as a threefold practice: Psalm 119:25-32

Thomas Manton: “The word feeds meditation and meditation feeds prayer. Meditation must follow hearing and precede prayer. What we take in by the word we digest by meditation and let out by prayer.”

  1. Verse 16: A Dwelling Word

Not an overnight stay, a quick visit, or like cramming for a test. Bible memory and meditation: Why not John 3:15 or John 3:17?

  1. Verse 17: Abundant meditation means an abundance of thankfulness

John Owen: “In whatever condition you may be, either in greediness, chasing after some futile secular or religious aim, or wandering about in your foolish imaginations, succeeding only in driving yourself to despair, compare what you are aiming at, or what you are doing, with what you have already heard of Jesus Christ.”

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

Action Steps For You

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