Is Meditation Dangerous?
Contributed by Sharla Fritz
I remember clearly when a friend mentioned he was seeing a counselor who recommended meditation.
“Clear your mind,” the counselor instructed. “Try to empty it completely.”
Red flags immediately shot up in my own mind. “Empty your mind” did not sound like good advice in light of Jesus’ warning that an empty mind may be an invitation for evil to take up residence (Luke 11:24-26). So I warned my friend that this kind of meditation could be dangerous.
But not all meditation is alarming and unsafe. Christian meditation doesn’t aim to empty the mind. Instead, Christian meditation focuses on filling the heart by contemplating God’s Word.
Think of meditation like enjoying a rich, European chocolate. You don’t pop in the delicacy and gulp it down as quickly as you can. Instead, you savor it, let it melt on your tongue, and enjoy the rich flavor as long as the candy lasts.
When I’m meditating on Scripture, I don’t try to read through God’s Word as quickly as I can. Instead I take a small portion and deliberately savor it. I let the meaning melt into my heart.
One way to meditate on Scripture is method I call SACRED reading. Choose a small portion of Scripture (about 6-8 verses) and follow these steps spelled out by the word SACRED. (Some Scripture selections to try: Matthew 5:3-10, Ephesians 1:15-20, Philippians 4:4-9)
- Silence your thoughts. Begin by quieting your spirit. At first your thoughts may seem to crowd out any quietness, but let them pass through your mind and eventually the chaos in your head will die down
- Attend to the passage. Read your chosen verses. Read slowly, out loud if possible. Pause when God seems to be highlighting a certain sentence or phrase.
- Contemplate the Word. Meditate on the passage, especially on any words the Holy Spirit seems to directing to you today. Ask yourself, “What is my truest reaction to these words: resistence? sadness? conviction? joy? peace? thanksgiving?”
- Respond to the text. After you have taken time to listen, pray. Pour out your heart to God, responding to what He has spoken to you. Express your joy or sorrow, your gratefulness or fear. Spill out any doubts and anxieties.
- Exhale and rest. Read the text again and rest in the love of God. Receive His peace.
- Dwell in the Word. Don’t shut the Bible and leave the words behind. Pick out one truth that you can carry into your day, one promise that will help you live out what God has spoken to you.
This kind of meditation will not empty your mind; it will fill it with God’s peace. This kind of meditation is not dangerous; it will leave your heart and mind more secure in God’s love and abiding presence.
For More on Soul Spa
For more about meditation on Scripture, check out Sharla Fritz’s new book Soul Spa: 40 Days of Spiritual Renewal and visit her website to get her free Soul Spa Kit: 59 Ideas For Creating Your Own Spiritual Retreat.
Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of four books including Soul Spa, Divine Design, Bless These Lips, and Divine Makeover, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace. She is passionate about helping women take their next step of faith.
Find out more about Sharla on her website: www.sharlafritz.com
Twitter handle: @SharlaFritz