Volume. XXXII, No. 36
Sunday, 04 March 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Meditation

I cannot emphasize too much on the importance of thinking.  Even before I approach this topic of thinking from biblical perspectives, I understand that it has been a hot topic amongst serious educators.  There has been a thinking strategy program, “Thinking Connections,” that teaches critical and creative thinking within the context of the regular curriculum (from the abstract from Thinking Connections: Learning to Think and Thinking to Learn by David N Perkins and others).  Educators have been interested in encouraging, helping and teaching their students to develop their ability to think.  It is interesting to know that the book suggests three modules to help students think.  The first module is to “help students develop an awareness and purpose of the task set before them.”  The second module is to help them “make decisions by asking themselves about the options, the reasons, and the best choice.”  The third module is to help them ask questions and find answers by answering the following questions: “What are the purposes?”; “What are the features and reasons?”; and “how well does it work?”  If I had not known that it comes from an education book, I would have thought that it teaches us about the methods of “how to study the Bible,” or “how to meditate on the word of God.”  The commonality between these two (educational emphasis on thinking and Biblical meditation) is found in exercising and using our minds for understanding and knowledge. 


The importance of thinking is also found in the problems of disordered thinking.  Many years ago, Martin Harrow and Donald M. Quinlan wrote a book, “Disordered thinking and schizophrenic psychopathology,’ in which they studied a large series of schizophrenic and other disturbed patients.  In particular, they paid special attention to the role, in thought pathology, “of potential boundary disturbances, of associative disturbances, of disorders of selective attention, of ‘positive’ thought disorders, of concreteness, of overinclusion, of disordered thinking.”  When we do not think properly and rightly, our thinking leads us to wrongs. 


There are two lessons we must learn even before we think about Biblical meditation: (1) We must be thinking people.  God created us according to His image, and He is the God of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  He has given us abilities to think.  Whether we think or not depends on our awareness of its importance and willing obedience to think.  (2) It is possible that people refuse to think.  It is the very reason that God commands His people to meditate upon His Holy Word.  There may be couple of reasons why we do not think: (a) We are naturally lazy.  We do not want to dwell on the things we ought to think about.  We are too lazy to think and ask others to think and give us only conclusions to adopt.  (b) We are misinformed or uneducated about thinking.  Thus, we do not see any reason to think deeply.  Whatever the first impressions may be on any event or any lesson, we take them as the final answer.  For such cases, we may even not feel any necessity for any further thinking.


The consequences of not thinking are harsh and dangerous.  (1) We may not know what is right and what is wrong.  Every measurement comes from our own prejudices and biases.  There is no such a thing like “neutral mind.”  We have natural inclinations as well as pre-acquired conditions.  Thus, our conclusions without proper thinking could leads us to wrong ends.  (2) We may believe wrong as right, and right as wrong.  It is an aggravated condition from the previous point.  We are convinced by wrongs, and as a result, our convictions are wrong!  (3) We may lose opportunities to learn right things.  Because of our wrong convictions, we become unteachable people.  We miss opportunities to learn.


We cannot but consider at least two reasons why unthinking Christians are dangerous and wrong.  Of course, the list could be endless.  We need to condense it to a minimum for clarity of this topic.  (1) An unthinking person still dwells in characteristics of darkness.  Everything within us including our minds and thinking had been darkened and dead in sins and trespasses before we were quickened by the Spirit of God.  The quickened souls need to be taught and educated with the truths of God.  In our entire life, we will learn more and more to see and understand what is right and wrong.  Consider Ephesians 4:17-23: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”  Paul speaks of the renewed mind, taught and educated mind, and also the vanity of the mind in the past.  We need to learn of Christ.  If our minds are not renewed, we are still dwelling on the things of the past.  We must learn to think differently from the past.  (2) An unthinking person still carries his past and does not show his renewal in Christ.  Our thinking must be kept by truth and sanctified.  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he ….”  If we do not educate our minds to think in truth but leave them in their nature, we cannot but produce sinful things.  Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  If we are left in our old ways of thinking, we shall fall into temptations and sin against God and man.  James 1:14 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”  The Lord knows our thoughts.  Matthew 9:4, “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”  Our thoughts should be renewed by learning Christ. 


Now, you may want to ask me why I keep talking about thinking and unthinking, while the subject I want to dwell on is “meditation.”  Its simple answer is “because thinking and meditation” are inseparable concepts.  It could be proven through definitions of “meditation.”  See the following quotes:

  1. Webster says that meditate means to focus one’s thoughts on, to reflect on, to muse, to mull over or to ponder over and calls for a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. It means to engage in contemplation or reflection, focusing one's thoughts on some truth, reflecting and pondering that truth.
  2. Unger’s New Bible Dictionary says that meditation is, “A private devotional act, consisting in deliberate reflection upon some spiritual truth or mystery, accompanied by mental prayer and by acts of the affection and of the will, especially formation of resolutions as to future conduct… Meditation is a duty that ought to be attended to by all who wish well to their spiritual interests. It should be deliberate, close, and continuous.”
  3. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says meditation is a concept found primarily in the Old Testament and is “the practice of reflection or contemplation. The word ‘meditation’ or its verb form, ‘to meditate,’ is found mainly in the Old Testament. The Hebrew words behind this concept mean ‘to murmur,’ ‘a murmuring,’ ‘sighing,’ or ‘moaning’… Meditation is a lost art for many Christians, but the practice needs to be cultivated again.”


Biblical meditation is not to empty our minds but to think carefully and deeply in the Spirit.  I’ll continue on meditation next time.



Your Pastor


*Editor’s Note: We apologise for the wrong article last week.

More Lively Hope



  • Special thanks to organizers, helpers, & contributors to the YAF Welcome Night.
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