The Heart of the Matter…

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Psalm 19:14 was recently the featured verse in an online devotion I read every day. Psalm 19 is a beautiful depiction of God making himself known through first His creation and then His Word. Many a pastor or speaker has prayed this verse before sharing a message in church. The devotional I read focused on the verse as a reminder to watch our words. It suggested: “Try this today: in conversations with other people, listen more and speak less. Make your prayer, ‘Lord, close my mouth.’”

There is nothing wrong with that, but the rest of the psalm seems to speak to the attitude of the psalmist’s heart. He is in love with God, God’s creation, and God’s Word. When we’re in such a place our heart is right with God and will guide the words that come out of our mouths. The key to taming the tongue is a heart aligned with God. Anything offensive that leaves the mouth was born in the heart. And only there can it be snuffed out. Jesus made this quite clear:

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” Mathew 15:18-20 (NIV)

Many Christ-followers lead a double life. They often think one thing and speak another. The truth is all of us at some point have had to pause when someone asks us what we’re thinking because it’s the last thing we want to tell them! But eventually, what percolates in the heart will be poured out of the spout of the mouth. Perhaps Psalm 19:14 should be partnered with the words of the Apostle Paul:

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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

Yet, just like our words, our thoughts are dictated by the direction of our heart. If our heart is constantly in awe of God, as the psalmist’s was, our thoughts and then our words will be godly. The next time something leaves your lips that you regret, take two steps back: one step back to your Philippians 4:8 and the second step back to Psalm 19:14.  We all regret things we let escape our mouths. God has blessed us with a remedy that treats the problem at its source. Pay attention to the mediation of your heart. Ask for God’s guidance and He’ll tell you how you’re doing. The heart of the matter is the heart!

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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