Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
This verse struck a chord in me this morning. I’ve known this verse by heart for many years and yet today it hit home in a new way as I asked myself, “What’s the mediation of my heart?” And “Is it acceptable to God?”
For some reason I tend to think that meditation is an active thing – something you have to really want to do and strive to do. Whether the word “meditate” stirs up thoughts of New Age meditation, yoga, or memorizing Scripture, it always seems like it’s an act of hard and focused work. But today I realized that actually I am almost always meditating on something. It’s just a matter of what.
We all know that to meditate on something is to think it over…and over…and over…and over in our minds – to dwell on something. The truth is it’s not a matter of if we meditate, it’s a matter of what we meditate on. If we aren’t purposeful and mindful, it’s often unwanted mini intruders that take up residence in our minds. They sneak in unannounced and set up camp. Before we know it, we are meditating on things we never intended to dwell on.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s really easy to think about all the bad, hard, less than desireable, troublesome, irksome, bothersome (you get the idea) things of life that leave you craving things that God hasn’t given you. They aren’t necessarily bad things but they are things that God (in His perfect wisdom, ahem!) hasn’t chosen to give you. So, as we follow the trail of thoughts, we can see that sloppy meditation can often lead to a covetous heart.
Whether it has to do with our less than desireable health, a relationship gone bad (or one we wish we had), a past (or present) failure, the boss that doesn’t give you all the kudos you feel you deserve, that child that just about drives you to drinkin’ and you wonder how on earth God decided it was a good idea to give him to you of all people… Not the most glorious things to be dwelling on, right?
And having a covetous heart makes one just a little bit grouchy. Have you noticed? It’s not pleasant to think on all the things that have gone “wrong” in your life or all the ways your life could be so much better, if only….. Nope, a covetous heart is not hard to spot because there’s a real connection between the meditation of our hearts and the words of our mouths.
“…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34b
So, if we want to meditate on things that are pleasing to God, then we will have to work on training our minds to think on good things. And how do we know what those good things are?
Psalm 1 tells us how blessed the man is who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.
Why the law? Well, if we go back to Psalm 19:7-11, right before David prays to God about the meditation of his heart, David describes for us all the wonderful things about the law of God. Take a look at this:
- It’s perfect.
- It restores the soul.
- It is sure.
- It makes us wise.
- It is right.
- It causes our hearts to rejoice.
- It is pure.
- It enlightens our eyes.
- It is true and righteous and desireable and incredibly sweet.
- It brings warning.
- And finally….in keeping it, there is great reward.
When I read that, I was like, “Wow! No wonder God wants us to meditate on His law!” And yet, it doesn’t always come easy, does it? The flesh is not prone to dwelling on the things of God and yet, we can choose (by the power of the Holy Spirit and in His strength) to do so!
The meditation of our hearts is a big deal. Let’s treat it as such and train our thoughts to focus on God’s Word, not just in the morning and evening, but day and night. And if you hear yourself speaking in a way that seems less than acceptable to God (not to mention those around you), don’t excuse it OR beat yourself up about it. Just trace those words back to what you’ve been mulling over in your mind all day and then take those thoughts captive and choose to replace those negative thoughts with God’s glorious Truth. He isn’t our rock and our Redeemer for nothing. He’s given us such a treasure in Himself and in His Word. Let’s not take that for granted.