How can we let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be pleasing to God (Psalm 19:14)? This is a question that many Christians ask themselves as they seek to live a life that honors God. The book of Psalms provides wisdom and insight into how our words and thoughts can bring joy to the Lord.
First, we must understand why our words and thoughts matter to God. The book of Proverbs says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Our words carry tremendous power, for good or for evil. When we speak words of truth, love, encouragement, and hope, we can build others up and point them towards God. However, words rooted in lies, anger, pride, or malice can inflict incredible damage. Jesus Himself said that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Our words reveal the state of our heart.
God cares deeply about our words and thoughts because they reflect the innermost contents of our heart. David wrote “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (Psalm 139:1). The Lord examines our hearts and knows us intimately. He cares not just about our external actions but the very thoughts and attitudes that dwell within us. When our words and meditations are pleasing to God, it means our heart is aligned with His will and characterized by the fruit of His Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
How then can we let our words and thoughts be pleasing to God?
Bridling Our Tongue
A critical first step is asking God to help us control our tongue. James 1:26 states “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” There is great wisdom in being slow to speak, cautious with our words, and even remaining silent at times. “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28).
We must think carefully about the words we choose and not be rash or reactive with what we say. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11). When we feel tempted to speak out in anger, dwell on falsehood, or use words that tear down rather than build up, we must resist that urge. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3). Asking God to guard our lips is a wise prayer.
It is often our first natural impulse to speak, but we honor God when we are slow to speak and think first about whether our words will edify others. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Even truthful words can be destructive if not spoken from a heart of love. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
Bridling our tongue takes self-control and discipline. The Holy Spirit can empower us to have “gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:23) over the words we speak. As we yield our tongues to the Lord, He will guide us to speak only words that give life and reflect Christ.
Filling Our Heart with Truth
In addition to being careful with our words, we must also fill our heart with truth through Scripture meditation. The book of Psalms repeatedly discusses the blessings of meditation upon God’s word:
– “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
– “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Psalm 119:15-16).
– “My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise” (Psalm 119:148).
As we read, study, memorize, and meditate upon Scripture, our mind is transformed and renewed (Romans 12:2). Filling our thoughts with God’s truth is essential to living a life that pleases Him. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
Meditating on Scripture also guards us from conforming to the pattern of this world and guards our thought life from idolatry and sinful desires. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). As we immerse our minds in God’s word, our desires shift to match His heart and we gain wisdom to navigate life’s challenges.
Cultivating a heart of gratitude is another important way we can let our meditations be pleasing to God. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1). When our mind frequently reflects on the goodness of God and all His blessings towards us, our words will naturally flow from a heart of thanksgiving.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even in hardship, we can thank God for His faithfulness and draw strength from remembering His past deliverance. Lifting our eyes to praise God for His mighty works shifts our focus away from worldly anxieties. “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).
Of course, giving thanks should not be confined to our thoughts alone – it should overflow into praise and singing! “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:1-2). Nothing is more pleasing to God than the sincere praises offered by one of His children. As we daily reflect on His blessings over our life, we will find endless reasons to offer thanksgiving both in our thoughts and with our words.
Praying for God’s Help
As we seek to grow in thought-life that honors God, prayer is essential. We cannot transform our speech and meditations in our own strength. David prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Only through God’s empowering grace at work within us are we able change our heart.
We must cry out to God, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11). As we open our heart to Him, confess our shortcomings, and ask Him to align our thoughts and words with His will, He delights to answer that prayer. Paul wrote, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). This process of inner transformation requires laying our life before God each day, asking Him to use us as He sees fit.
We can pray for God to guard our heart, cleanse our thoughts, bridle our tongue, and let our meditations reflect His truth. He knows our weaknesses better than we do. As we yield ourselves to Him in dependent prayer, He will shape our thought life to match His.
Living it Out through Love
While our thought life matters greatly, God also cares deeply about how our faith is lived out through acts of love. Words alone are not sufficient to please God – they must be backed up by loving actions.
The apostle John wrote, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their fine-sounding words unmatched by loving action. “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Even thoughts that seem noble and meditations that sound pleasing can be a mask for hearts unchanged by God’s love.
We honor God most when His truth permeates so deeply in our heart that it naturally flows out through serving others. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). The convictions and beliefs dwelling in our mind will be evidenced by the ways we selflessly care for those around us.
Paul gives a beautiful exhortation in Philippians that summarizes this well: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). As God’s peace dwells within us, His love will flow out of us through action.
Our words and thoughts hold great significance before God. As Christians seeking to honor Him, we must bridle our tongue, fill our mind with Scripture, cultivate gratitude, and pray for God’s help in aligning our speech and meditations with His will. However, pleasing God requires backing up our words with loving action empowered by His Spirit at work within us. When our heart overflows with God’s love, our words and thoughts will become an acceptable offering of praise to Him.