The other day a thought briefly passed through my mind. As soon as it did, I despised it, and I felt guilty that I had even thought it. I couldn’t believe I had thought such a thing. I prayed and prayed and prayed and asked God to forgive me. I told Him that I really didn’t mean what I had thought and that thought did not reflect my heart. I was still distressed over it and felt guilty for a couple of hours.
At some point later that morning, still feeling upset, this verse popped into my head:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Psalm 139:23
I then was able to relax and take comfort that while I had allowed that thought into my mind, I most certainly didn’t honor it by dwelling on it. I didn’t let it sink roots into my heart. Instead, I detested it and cast it out of my mind as quickly as it had appeared.
But this verse reminded me of something else in that moment. Every time I pray this verse something interesting happens. I’m praying that God would search me and know my thoughts. But in my experience what happens is that by asking God to search my heart and my thoughts, with God’s guidance, I’m also the one who is diving in and understanding better not only my thoughts but also the causes of those thoughts. In that moment, with the Lord’s help, I realized that my fleeting thought had been caused by stress, frustration, and a lack of faith that I had been wrestling through. By taking every thought captive, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, I could then test that thought and the state of my heart. And then I could give it all to the Lord in prayer and repentance and humbly ask for His help.
What thoughts are you allowing to run rampant through your mind? Have you asked God to search you and examine your heart and then having taken your thoughts captive, submitted them to the Lord? If not, what is stopping you? Fear, shame, guilt? Take some time this week to think about what you’re thinking about. If you’re like me I need God’s help to sort through my thoughts, find the hidden motivations of those thoughts, and then move forward in prayer and repentance. It’s amazing how freeing it is when I do. I encourage you to experience that freedom for yourself!
Pressing on in faith, Jennifer