“I may think all kinds of nasty things, but you will never see me act any of that out.”
We think this way from time to time. We suppose that if we allow ourselves to indulge our thoughts, it will act like a relief valve, and we will not act them out. The truth, however, is quite different. Over time, the way we think about others becomes the way we act toward them. If I harbor anger and bitterness and allow myself to hold on to that, I will eventually treat that person that way.
Can a Christian allow himself or herself to be one kind of person in the privacy of their thoughts and another kind of person in public? Not only should that idea strike us as duplicitous, it should also strike us as impossible. As Jesus told his disciples, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
The prayer of the Psalmist helps us see this deeper work that God does in the lives of his children: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (Psalm 19:14). God’s work in out lives is not behavior management. God is after the core of our characters, the source of our lifestyles. God desires to, and is able to, change the deepest parts of who we are and transform our desires to align with his. We might be able to make the “words of my mouth” please God for a while, but it will not last until the “meditation of my heart” is in line with him as well.
This is incredible news for the Christian. Have you grown frustrated with the sin that easily takes over your emotions and thought? Have you wanted to be free from the actions, reactions, and words that do harm? We pray this prayer with the Psalmist to a God who is able to change our hearts. This God is able to make even our deepest thoughts pleasing to him.
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