The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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“The Battle for Purity: Your Thoughts”


“Search me, O God and know my heart;

Test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting”

                                                                                                                (Psalm 139:23-24).

          “Aw, it doesn’t matter so much what a person thinks as long as he doesn’t do anything illegal,”
argued an unthinking college student in an attempt to justify his habit of reading pornographic material. Our focal scriptures inform us that this student was wrong. One’s thoughts do matter and the battle for purity must encompass the area of our thoughts.
          Please remember that the battle for purity generally will be won or lost in the area of your thinking. Thus, the prayer of the psalmist recorded in Psalm 139:23-24 serves as a guide for positive and pure patterns of thought.
          The psalmist asked God to Explore the Source of My Thoughts (139:23). The psalmist desired God to search the root of his thoughts.
          A feature common in the Psalms is parallelism in which the second line of a phrase serves to echo or reinforce the first. In this verse, the two lines equate one’s heart with one’s thoughts.
          The psalmist understood the truth conveyed by the sage “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man” (Proverbs 27:19) and “For as he thinketh in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a, KJV) or “What he thinks he really is” (GNT). The college student who tried to justify his pornographic habit was wrong. What you think about is important and the source of your thoughts (good or bad) is your heart.
          As he requested God to search the root of his thoughts, the psalmist also desired God to “test” the fruit of his thoughts. What a person thinks matters to God. Proverbs 15:26 reminds us “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to God.” The word translated “abomination” generally is regarded as the strongest word for that which God dislikes.
          What about the fruit that you are producing with your thoughts? Is the fruit developing nicely or is it rotten and putrid? Likely, many of us would squirm in discomfort when viewing the root and fruit of our thoughts through the looking glass of values that God places on our thinking.
          In addition to asking God to explore the source of his thoughts, the psalmist also petitioned God to Examine the Course of My Thoughts (139:24a). Similar to the patient desiring a doctor to diagnose symptoms, determine the ailment, and prescribe treatment, the psalmist wanted God to discern (“see”) the course of life (“way”) to which his thoughts were leading him. 
          The psalmist did not wish to conform to the way of the world. The Hebrew word translated “wicked” (KJV), “offensive” (NIV), or “evil” (TEV) reflects “hurt” or “pain” and represents the way of destruction. A person cannot continue to think below the level of honesty, decency, and Christian love over a period of time without speaking and acting below such levels.
          In light of his request for God to Explore the Source of his thoughts and to Examine the Course of his thoughts, the psalmist further prayed that God would help him Exchange the Force of My Thoughts (139:24b).
          In direct contrast to the “hurtful way” (NASB) or way of pain mentioned earlier, the psalmist asked God to “lead me in the way everlasting.”  Use of the imperative “Lead me” not only reflects a sense of urgency, but the psalmist’ request also coveys complete sincerity indicative of total submission to God. The goal and result of being led by God is the “everlasting way” representing life and fellowship with God and depicting the blessed destination of one whose life is lived yielded completely to God.
          This prayer by the psalmist was a prayer for correction and for direction. Dorothy A Thrupp echoed the psalmist’s desire to live in harmony with God, yielded to God, and guided by God with these words…

                           “Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;

                            In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.”

                           “We are Thine; do Thou befriend us, be the guardian of our way;

                            Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, Seek us when we go astray;”

          Knowing that your heart is the wellspring of life and must be guarded carefully, consistently, and continuously, ask the Lord to create in you a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within you. Earnestly and honestly pray, “O God, explore my heart – the source of my thinking. Examine the course of my life that is projected through my thoughts. Please lead me to exchange the force of my thoughts so I can fight and win the battle for purity.”

          Dear Heavenly Father, Please protect me, correct me, and direct me in the area of my thinking. Lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.