This is a favorite and well known scripture for many of us, but not one that we often really reflect on: Psalm 19:14 —May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. * In it, we’re asking that every word we speak, and every thought in our minds, would be pleasing to our Lord. Have we ever really thought about the kind of thoughts that go through our minds on any typical day, or the words that come out of our mouths throughout that day? It’s something I think about regularly and no matter how much I want my thoughts and words to please the Lord, I have to admit that there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wind up having thoughts that I know aren’t pleasing to Him. How about you?
Have you ever wondered why this would be important? Why does the Lord care about what our thoughts are since no one can hear them anyway? For one thing, the Lord hears our every thought even before we do. (Psalm 139:2–4) Jesus teaches us that our thoughts are what ultimately cause our feelings and our actions, and of course this is shown all through the Bible. It began when Adam sinned and his thoughts were corrupted, which also corrupted his feelings. Think about that a moment. Prior to their sin, they already had the knowledge of “good”. When they sinned, they added the knowledge of evil to their hearts and minds. That’s what corrupted everything and has been passed down to everyone since then! It makes me shudder to think of their pure hearts and minds, suddenly having the knowledge of evil. How horrible! And look what it did to them, to their children and ultimately to us.
In the bible, the words used for “heart” or “mind” are words that include what we would think of as both. So most of the time, when the Bible says “heart”, it’s meaning what we would say as “heart and mind” and the same when it says “mind”. The word in the original language actually means, “the inner man”, “the seat of the emotions and thoughts”. So when the Lord tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) What it’s saying to us is that both our feelings and thoughts, our hearts and minds are deceitful above all things and beyond cure. It’s the same with this passage as well: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
We’re to guard our hearts and minds, our feelings and thoughts, above all else. But at the same time we’re to realize that our thoughts and feelings are deceitful and not to be trusted at all. We can’t trust them because they’re corrupted by the knowledge of evil. This sounds like an impossible command then doesn’t it? Why would we need to guard our hearts and minds if they’re already corrupted? Honestly, for the unsaved, it wouldn’t matter, and it wouldn’t do them any good to do so. But for those who are saved, it’s very important, because at our salvation, God gives us the mind of Christ. However, just because we have it, doesn’t mean that we always use it. In fact for the most part, many don’t, because they haven’t developed their ability to know His mind and use it. That comes through daily study and application of God’s Word, as we grow in Christ.
Now, if the Lord tells us that above everything else, we’re to guard our hearts and minds, how are we supposed to that? The Lord never commands us to do something without also telling us how to do it, and giving us the ability to do it. For this, He is very clear and gives a great deal of instruction on it all through His Word. First He tells us that we are to always be in control of our thoughts. By being in control of our thoughts, that will influence both our feelings and our actions. He says we’re to take any thoughts that don’t agree with His Word captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) What that means is that when we find ourselves thinking something that’s contrary to His Word, we’re to stop thinking it and immediately replace that thought with the Truth from His Word.
This goes right back to that scripture we started with, making every thought pleasing to our Lord. If you’re thinking something like how stupid you are, then that is a lie and must be taken captive (stopped) and you must tell yourself the Truth, which is that you have the mind of Christ. If you’re thinking no one cares about you, again it’s a lie, take it captive and tell yourself that the Lord delights in you and calls you His precious child. And so forth. We’re to do this with every thought that’s contrary to His Word, and we’re to do it constantly every day. This is the true spiritual warfare for the spiritual battle being fought is for our minds and hearts. Satan wants them and will get them if we don’t consciously obey God’s Word and make our thoughts pleasing to Him.
As we grow spiritually, the Lord will constantly show us thoughts that need to be brought into agreement with His Word. While doing this is difficult at first, after some practice it becomes second nature and a habit and really isn’t hard at all. Obviously, the better we know God’s Word, the more we will be able to recognize thoughts that aren’t in agreement with it.
Another reason this is so important to the Lord is because He loves us and wants the very best for us. He doesn’t want us enslaved to Satan and evil by our thoughts and feelings. He also wants to be able to reward us for obeying Him and warns us in Matthew 12:36–37 that we will have to give account for every careless word that we speak. To help us know what kind of thoughts are pleasing to Him, what kind of thoughts we should allow in our minds, He tells us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
If you’d like more information and instruction about taking your thoughts captive, you can find more by clicking on the tab above called “Taking Thoughts Captive”, or by clicking on this link: Taking Thoughts Captive