Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Practices of the Christian Faith: Meditation/ Silence/ Solitude

What a world we live in. All around us we are reminded that we are not alone. The alarm wakes you up in the morning with people talking, singing, and laughing. Of course, you need to check the morning news and the weather report. It is important to know who won last night’s game. After getting dressed and ready for the day, you may get in your car and head off to work. Often there is music and talking on the radio or cd player. Often I come across people with earbuds in. The Ipod invades even your most, quiet alone time. For too many people, there is no quiet, alone time.

When God revealed himself to Elijah (1 Kings 19.11-18) he did it in a most unusual way. God was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. God was not in the big and dramatic events. God spoke with a “still, small” voice. I am concerned that many people are never in a position to hear from God because they are never in a place of quiet.

I have grouped meditation, silence and solitude because they are similar and each practice will help you fulfill the others in your life. For example, when you meditate on God’s word, the Bible, often it causes you to be silent. You are moved to quiet while contemplating what God has to say to you. Additionally, you will often find that solitude, being alone, is a key to meditation.

  • Meditation. There is nothing unusual or creepy about meditating. Too often we Christians have forfeited meditation to Eastern religions. Protestants have often thought that meditating was “too Catholic.” But let me encourage you to spend time contemplating God’s word and his work. Consider what he has said and what he has done. Focus your mind on his glory and the hope that he has given you. Do this regularly. “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.” (Psalm 119.15)
  • Silence. I have already made a case for being silent so that you can hear God, but even if that were not a benefit of silence, you should still do it. Silence is good for you even if you are not a Christian. Be quiet for awhile and realize the restorative powers of your brain. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62.5)
  • Solitude. It is true that there is great value in Christian fellowship. We are encouraged and built up by being around other believers. But, there are times when there is no better thing than to be alone. God created us to fellowship with others, but we are also equipped to be built-up, restored and enriched when we are alone with God.

Your first attempts at meditation, silence and solitude may be a little uncomfortable and less than satisfying. Do not be discouraged. Do not quit. God will minister to you and bless you as you spend time with him.

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