“These people honor me, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6
“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come.” Mark 7:21
I think most of us enter into studying the Bible and other Christian reading material with the hope of being encouraged, comforted, and maybe challenged. But do you ever encounter a passage, as I have (see the F.B. Meyer quote below), that cuts you to the quick? There are many Bible verses that address the importance of “guarding the tongue,” such as:
“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” Proverbs 4:24
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.” Ephesians 4:29
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight reign on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
I am challenged by these verses and I am an ongoing “work in progress” in this area. But when I’m convicted regarding my thoughts, here is where I really have to say “ouch.” I think I often get it backwards, guarding what I say out loud without first getting my attitude right. Without a doubt, the importance of controlling one’s thoughts is key to a life of holiness in Christ. May we pray for ourselves and one another in this area.
“It is a natural tendency of the human heart to reduce its religious life to an outward and literal obedience, while its thoughts continue unhampered. In the life of true holiness, everything depends on the control of the thoughts. ‘Create in me a pure heart’ (Psalm 51:10) should be your constant prayer.” F.B. Meyer
Heavenly Father, Forgive us for not checking out words, much less our thoughts. Help us to pattern ourselves after Jesus in what we think and say. In His name we pray, Amen.
– Carolyn Rex