"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
Christian Meditation (4:8)
1. Our text for this lesson enjoins upon Christians that they engage in a
form of "meditation":
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever
things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is
any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these
things." (Php 4:8)
2. The practice of "meditation" by Christians is not something you might
hear frequently discussed
a. It may be that some Christians are simply not aware that they are
commanded to "meditate"
b. It may be that some believe "meditation" belongs solely to the
Eastern religions like Hinduism or Buddhism
3. Yet Paul clearly teaches us to "meditate on these things", and
"meditation" is certainly a Biblical subject:
a. Isaac meditated in the field at eventide - Gen 24:63
b. Joshua was charged by God to mediate "day and night" - Josh 1:8
c. The "blessed man" in Psalms 1 is one who meditates - Ps 1:1-2
d. David became wiser than his teachers through meditation - Ps
e. Paul commanded Timothy to "meditate on these things" - 1Ti 4:15
4. But some questions may come to mind:
a. WHAT does meditation mean for the Christian?
b. WHY should we be concerned about making time to meditate?
c. HOW should we meditate?
[This lesson will attempt to provide answers to these questions...]
I. WHAT MEDITATION IS IN THE BIBLE
A. WHAT MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE IS NOT...
1. The kind practiced by many Eastern religions
a. Like Hinduism, Buddhism, or Transcendental Meditation
b. Where the object is to experience truth, peace, or being,
that is "inexpressible"
2. The kind practiced by "Christian mystics"
a. Such as Quakers, and others often found among Catholics and
b. These meditate in order to "experience" God, or to receive
some revelation from God
3. Both Eastern and "Christian mystical" meditation usually
attempt to empty the mind so as to find or receive truth within
(i.e., a "subjective" form of meditation)
B. WHAT MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE IS...
1. To dwell or contemplate on some truth or reality already
revealed (i.e., an "objective" form of meditation)
2. To be more specific, the man "after God's Own heart" is one who
meditates on such things as:
a. The Lord Himself - Ps 63:6
b. His wonderful Works - Ps 77:12
c. His revealed Word - Ps 119:15,23,48,97-99,148
3. To put it in the words of the apostle Paul, we are to meditate
a. Things that are "true, noble, just pure, lovely, of good
b. Things that are of any "virtue", and are "praiseworthy"
4. The PURPOSE of such meditation is...
a. To nourish man with his understanding of God and His Revealed
Will (not to seek for some previously unrevealed truth)
b. To give man spiritual joy and strength through such
nourishment - cf. Ps 1:1-3; Is 40:28-31
[So there is a very real difference between "Biblical meditation" and
that commonly practiced by many religions!
1) Christian meditation dwells on that already revealed in creation or
2) Whereas other forms of meditation are seeking some new truth to be
Understanding the difference, why is Biblical meditation so important?]
II. WHY WE SHOULD MEDITATE
A. IT IS A SOURCE OF JOY AND STRENGTH...
1. This we have already seen from such passages like Ps 1:1-2;
2. This alone should motivate us to meditate more often
B. IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR "TRANSFORMATION"...
1. The goal of the Christian is to become more like Christ - cf.
2. This requires a "transformation" - Ro 12:1-2
3. But notice that this is possible only by "renewing the mind"
- Ro 12:2
4. This "renewing" is possible only when we "set our minds" on
a. On things above
b. Not on things on the earth - Col 3:1-2
5. Only then, when our minds are "set on things above", will we be
successful in completing the "transformation" which includes
"putting off the old man" and "putting on the new man" - cf.
Col 3:1-2 with Col 3:5-14
C. MANY CHRISTIANS FALL BECAUSE THEY MEDITATE ON THE WRONG THINGS!
1. They "mind the things of the flesh", which leads to "death" and
"enmity with God" - cf. Ro 8:5-8
2. Yet even those in the world understand that you cannot be a
spiritual person if you "dwell" on carnal things
a. "Recent studies conducted by a Stanford University research
team have revealed that 'what we watch' does have an effect
on our imaginations, our learning patterns, and our
behaviors. First we are exposed to new behaviors and
characters. Next, we learn or acquire these new behaviors.
The last and most crucial step is that we adopt these
behaviors as our own. One of the most critical aspects of
human development that we need to understand is the influence
of 'repeated viewing' and 'repeated verbalizing' in shaping
our future. The information goes in, 'harmlessly, almost
unnoticed,' on a daily basis, but we don't react to it until
later, when we aren't able to realize the basis for our
reactions. In other words, our value system is being formed
without any conscious awareness on our part of what is
happening!" (Seeds Of Greatness, Denis Waitley, p. 47-48)
b. "You are what you watch and think." (ibid., p. 45)
c. "If a sixty second commercial, by repeated viewing, can sell
us a product, then isn't it possible for a sixty minute soap
opera or 'smut-com', by repeated viewing, to sell us a
life-style?" (ibid., p. 47)
[If Christians are going to succeed, they must set their minds (or
meditate) on "the things of the Spirit", or on "things above, where
Christ is"! Only then can they with God's help "put off the old man"
and "put on the new man".
Finally, a few thoughts on...]
III. HOW TO MEDITATE
A. REMEMBER, YOUR MIND IS AFFECTED BY EVEN CASUAL CONTEMPLATION!
1. Cf. the Stanford studies (quoted above)
2. The first step to proper meditation is to be selective in what
you watch and read
3. Fill your mind with positive and spiritual thoughts if you
really want to:
a. "renew the mind"
b. "be transformed"
4. It doesn't have to be restricted to the Bible, as Paul said:
a. There are novels, movies, television shows, etc., that fall
into the category of possessing "virtue" and being
b. Seek the advice and counsel of other Christians as to what
is "of good report"
5. So first let your "casual" contemplation be discriminatory!
B. TO REACH THE HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL MEDITATION, HEED THE COUNSEL OF
1. Make the Bible your primary focus for meditation - Ps 1:2
2. Read it contemplatively every day - Ps 1:2; 119:15
3. Read it with a prayer in your heart - cf. Ps 119:18
4. As you read, occasionally read it aloud to yourself
a. The Hebrew word in Ps 1:2 means "to mutter"
b. Reading slowly and audibly helps to focus one's mind on the
5. As you read, you might ask yourself the following questions:
a. Is there some truth I should know from this verse?
b. How does this passage affect a previously held conviction?
c. Is there something I should stop doing in light of this
d. Is there a practice I should change?
e. Is there a habit I ought to begin?
6. To put it another way: "Hold the Word of God in your heart
until it has affected every phase of your life...this is
1. In Ps 19:14, we find David praying:
"Let the words of mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
"O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."
2. What Paul commands us to do in our text ("meditate on these things")
is the means by which we can assure that our meditations will be
acceptable in the sight of our Lord!
3. If you are not a Christian, or an erring one, then there are some
things in particular upon which you ought to meditate:
a. What is your standing in God's sight?
b. What would happen if you were to die today?
c. What do you need to do to be found in the grace of God?
d. Why delay any longer?
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