"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31
When I ask the question, "Do you love God?" I usually get a smile and an immediate "Yes". But when I ask, "Do you meditate on God's love?" I get a variety of looks and questions. There seems to be a disconnect between God's top two commandments and how we practice them.
The most common way Christians follow these commandments is by feeling love for God and others. The process may involve prayer, thought, and even action. The practice involves embodying love, which is God, and projecting it to God and others. This is truly a practice of saints and holy ones. It is by far the way people change and become more empowered by God through our Lord Jesus.
I have witness for myself, maybe you have too, a portion of the church body appears to be out of touch with love. Though the word of God may be heard, and may even be practiced, there is no real change. One conversation can reveal how close some Christians are to the secular world.
They may speak Christian words but the truth of the heart is far from God. The truth of the world is much closer. Others may actually love God but find themselves derailed from thinking, speaking, and acting in the ways of love (God).
The commandments to love God and others has within it instructions on how to perform them. We must love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Once during a conversation I asked my audience have you ever loved God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? No one answered.
Then I was asked, "What do you mean?" So I began to share the beauty of Christian meditation.
Let me explain.
Think of God as a vast presence that is all around us. Nothing can disturb it. Nothing can move it. Nothing can affect it. It knows all things. It interacts with all things. And it understands all things.
Most people are not aware that God's presence is sustained by love, His love for us and creation. God loves to love. God is love. Most people's perception is tuned to the world, not God. This is why love is not the defining attribute in heart, soul, and mind. Love is the essence of God. It is God's nature and when we experience it we change. (Psalm 34:8) It affects how we think, speak, and act.
Our mind is a wonderful and fascinating mechanism. It stores and accumulates memories from experiences so it can later form thought that translates into attitudes about the world and life. The thoughts we form are so powerful they can literally makes you well or sick.
A study published in 2003 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences closely associates positive thinking with improved health, while negative thoughts weakened our immune system.
If a thought can change your physical health, imagine what it can do to your relationship with God. Since the brain produces tens of thousands of thought per day, and most of it is influenced by the carnal world around us, we can safely assume that our mind is more finely tuned to the world than God.
It is virtually impossible to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind unless heart, soul, and mind have relinquished thought. When we ponder on this a little deeper, we can say that even one thought would create interference between us and God. Thought is produced by man. God is all. God is not thought. God is everything eternally. If we have a thought how can we experience God? We cant. If we have a thought we experience the thought, not God.
So it's difficult to love God and experience God when we have thought. The only way then to experience God as love is to momentarily relinquish thought so the mind, which was created by God, may solely enjoy God, who is love.
In the experience of God is when we become close and know God. (Psalm 46:10) Once we taste and see the Lord we naturally, and automatically, revere Him and love Him. This is when many instruction is translated from the spiritual realm into the mind. Stillness is the place where we meet God. (Psalm 46:10)
God's love changes us into more loving, compassionate, kind people. Without knowledge of God's love it's difficult to be deeply transformed by love. God's love for people is eternal, full of grace, and it abounds in mercy. Experiencing God this way makes us more loving, graceful, kind, and merciful toward others. When we do this we become vessels of God's love, in essence we become more like God since God is love.
Following this course of life our heart, soul, and mind is perfected with God rather than the world. It is a way for God to express Himself more in the world. Will you take a few minutes each day to close your eyes, sit still, and be with God? Here's a quick guide to get you started with a loving-kindness Christian meditation >> get your guide here.
I hope you action today and start meditating. If you do there are some surprising fact scientists have discovered about meditation which just might change your world.
1. Positive Emotions
Barbara Frederickson and colleagues (Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008) discovered that a simple secular loving-kindness meditation increases joy, love, gratitude, hope, and interest in life. These positive effects contributed to increased awareness, purpose, social interactivity, and decreased illness symptoms.
God designed the human body to responded to stillness and love. Fortunately, our God is love and we can know Him by just sitting still for a few minutes.
2. Decreased Migraines
A 2014 study by Tonelli conclusively showed how Loving Kindness Meditation reduces migraine pain while alleviating stress and tension generally associated with chronic migraines.
3. Decreased Chronic Pain
In 2005 randomized study of patients with chronic lower back pain were instructed to practice Loving Kindness Meditation for 8 weeks. The study showed patients experiences greater decreases in pain and psychological distress from their condition than the control group (Carson et al., 2005).
5. Decreased PTSD
Feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress were reduced significantly among veterans diagnosed with PTSD. The study published by Kearney et al (2013) shows how Loving Kindness Meditation can be effective in changing mental health. God wired us to benefit from love. This study proves that love, which is God, heals.
6. Activates Empathy In The Brain
Brain imaging scans show that loving-kindness meditation enhances areas of the brain linked to compassion and empathy. (Hoffmann, Grossman & Hinton, 2011) If a simple secular practice of just focusing on being more loving can produce brain changes, imagine what having contact with God, who is the author of love, can do for you.
7. Improves Self Esteem
Self criticism makes people vulnerable to mental health issues. In a carefully controlled study it was proven that a meditation focused on love greatly improved self outlook. The study published by Shahar et al (2014) demonstrated the efficacy of meditation at reducing self-criticism and depressive symptoms while and improving self-esteem and positive emotions.
I'm surprised you're still reading this article. I thought by now you'd be sitting quietly with eyes closed letting go in God.
Be sure to get started right way. Remember we're praying for you everyday. God bless you.
See you in the kingdom.