What we choose to meditate on has a huge impact on our spiritual walk. One of my favourite verses discussing this wisdom is written in Psalm and is expressed beautifully.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
In this Psalm, David gives glory to God, for His creation, power and sovereignty, as well as His perfect law, commands and statutes, which reflect His nature and are refreshing to the soul. He reminds himself of how God’s Word teaches us to walk in His ways and how to avoid error. Finally, he sings praises to, ‘my rock and my redeemer,’ characteristics that he has learnt to trust, knowing that it is the Lord who delivers us from the enemy and sets our feet firmly planted on the right path where we can move on safely.
We don’t often understand the power of right thinking and how this impacts us. Isaiah 61:3 exhorts us to put on ‘the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ Where our eyes are looking is where our heart will lead us. If our eyes are upon the Lord, then we will have the confidence that the Lord will lead us through our time of trial and suffering, but if our eyes are looking toward the enemy, we may feel defeated. If your problem is people related and they are active like David’s enemies, then take heart because God has this in hand too. Psalm 37:6 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
In Ecclesiastes 8, David’s son Solomon, to whom the writing is attributed, laments over the slow justice of the wicked and sees that the wicked prosper for a season, where the righteous man will seem like he is not prospering. But although the Lord is longsuffering, the one who fears the Lord will be rewarded. None the less, he should be joyous and patient even through his trials. Happiness is based upon our happenings, but joy is ours, despite our circumstances.
Today, when we have the Holy Spirit within us, we can experience joy and peace as we know that God’s love has been lavished upon us, even through our moments of grief. In Romans 5:3-5, Paul of Tarsus shares, ‘Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’
Paul also reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, where our thoughts should be;
‘Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things’. Philippians 4:8
For thousands of years, men and women of God have had to overcome many obstacles by learning where to focus their heart and mind. These are people who have studied the Word of God and know who He is. They know His characteristics and remind themselves constantly of His faithfulness to the promises that the Lord has declared. We will all go through various trials, but God is not slow in keeping His promises as some may think.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Like David and all those who have gone before us, we are to focus on things that are noble, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous or praise worthy – these things that occupy our mind will lead to a walk that is faith-filled, purposeful and victorious, all while experiencing peace and joy.
Do not allow your mind to think upon, or your mouth to speak of evil continuously. Avoid grumbling and complaining and all negative talk. Guard your heart from anything that is not noble, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous or praise worthy, because out of your heart flows life. Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
If you are focussing on all the things pertaining to life and godliness; that is all things that are listed above, then there will be no room to think upon anything else.
Most Christians know this in theory but they forget the first part of the Proverb. Be vigilant. This word means; to be watchful, especially of danger. Why be vigilant? We find the answer in 1 Peter 5.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
The battlefield is in our mind. James 1:5 shows us that sin is conceived in our mind before it becomes an action. But if we choose to delight ourselves in the Lord instead, the promise is that He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).
So where are you spending your thought life? Is it directed towards Heaven or earth?
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Paul admonishes the church of Corinth to ‘take every thought captive to obey Christ’, after they were thinking and talking about Paul from their imagination. These things were far from noble, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous or praise worthy.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and our tongue is controlled by our own mind. Our thoughts have the power to impact our walk and that of others if we choose to not have the flesh under subjection. If you have a habit of thinking upon things that are contrary to the spirit, then it’s time to contend for the faith. Become active like an athlete called to finish the race. Don’t allow your thoughts to just aimlessly happen and take off in the wrong direction, take up the sword and cut every wrong thought down and replace them with thoughts of truth. The Lord is faithful—you will have all the grace you need to help you.
Application: Today, make a decision to put every thought to the Philippians 4:8 test.
Ask yourself, is this thought noble, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous or praise worthy?
My hope is that we will all learn how powerful our mind and tongue is.
-- Judah Ayling