“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).

Recently, I woke up out of a deep sleep much earlier than normal, and this verse was on my mind. Whenever this happens, I know that God is trying to speak to my heart. So I got up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and sat down with my Bible. I was excited about digging into this verse and learning more about what God had to say about the words I speak. I have been studying the topic of words since emerging from the pandemonium of 2020.

It’s evident from Scripture that God is profoundly serious about our words. There is no shortage of verses that address the issue, especially in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 12:18; 13:3; 15:1,4; 18:21; 16:24; and 21:23 are just a few verses that offer some rich wisdom on the power of words. James 3 provides powerful insight and even describes our tongues as being untamable.

I was making a concerted effort to pay more attention to my words. And I’d even asked God to help me implement an invisible filter so I could be more mindful of what I said. I developed guidelines to help me weigh my words before I spoke. Want to hear them? Ready, set, go!

If my words are not true or kind or helpful…if they are not uplifting…if they are not the truth, spoken in love…if they are self-seeking in any way, even carefully disguised as concern for another, I will not say them. If my words are in any way negative or hurtful to someone or could be destructive or divisive, they will not escape my lips.

I was determined to become fluent in the language of silence. I continued pursuing God’s lessons on the importance of words, and I thought I had a fairly good handle on things. That should have been the first clue that I was in for a big Holy Spirit awakening and a healthy dose of conviction.

God used Psalm 19:14 to lovingly correct me. Early that morning, as I read the Scripture, I suddenly realized what the psalmist was saying. He wanted the Lord to be pleased with both his words and the meditation of his heart.

A closer study revealed that “meditation of my heart” translates into “my thoughts.” David wanted his words and his thoughts to be pleasing to God. Although I had been holding back my words, I suddenly understood that my thoughts were still often negative, critical, and toxic toward other people and circumstances. All I had accomplished by not allowing whatever came into my mind to fly out of my mouth was behavior modification; I still had a heart problem.

Jesus addressed this issue in Luke 6:45 by saying, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (NIV). Yikes! All those words that had been forming in my mind were the result of a sinful heart.

I am so grateful that the Lord revealed the truth of these two verses to me. I still have a lot of work to do, but thankfully, I am not alone in the process. At my request, God continues to soften my heart toward others. He helps me discern my thoughts and discover those underlying heart issues that I need to give over to Him. One by one, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am dealing with these issues.

My desire is that the Lord would continually refine me and mold my heart. Like the psalmist, I want my words and thoughts to be authentic reflections of a heart becoming more like Jesus every day. It’s the only way I can truly reflect His love.