Any thinking will do. Or at least any thinking is better than not thinking. Winnie the Pooh, one of the great thinkers of our time, said, “Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?” I am not sure what I think about that, but as we consider the instruction of Philippians 4:8, I want to believe that any amount of time spent “thinking on these things” can be healing, strengthening, mind and heart centering, moments.
Can our thinking, however, be more than just a passing thought? What are the elements and attitudes of Christian meditation, or Christian critical thinking? Let me offer some thoughts about thinking. When we sincerely pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer,” the inference is that we intend to speak and meditate. The inference is that speaking and meditating are a common and regular part of our lives. Also inferred is that we care greatly about speaking and meditating that pleases and honors our Lord.
Think about the elements and attitudes of good and productive thinking which we pray will be acceptable in the sight of God. Here are a few. Christian meditation is sincere, creative, note-taking, analytical, focused, hungry, time-ignoring, Word of God informed, Holy Spirit yielded, Christ loving thinking. It is sincere because we earnestly and honestly want our thoughts to please our Father. It is creative because we are open to new ideas and visions inspired by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit. It is note-taking because we cherish every idea and revelation God gives while we meditate and want to preserve them for further discovery. It is analytical because we pose questions and search for answers. It is focused because our attention to our meditation is undivided. It is hungry because we are starved for God’s truth and wisdom. And, it is time-ignoring because we are not allowing time to limit what can be learned.
The last three elements of Christian meditation should need no explanation. Meaningful and fruitful Christian meditation must come from a life that is informed by God’s Word, is yielded to the Holy Spirit, loves and is devoted to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The first seven elements of Christian meditation can come and go, wain and grow, ebb and flow. The last three are indispensable. There is in fact an expectation of meditation to achieve the last element. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).