Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deut 6:4-5)
When a was a child, I attended a Catholic School where we were taught many prayers for recitation. These prayers were ground into my brain through attending the daily Mass before school, and the catechism that I was taught to believe.
Although I have not practiced Catholicism for over 25 years these things have stuck in my brain. I know this because recently I had occasion to attend a Catholic church service and was quite surprised to find I could clearly and effortlessly recall the words I was to say along with the rest of the assembly. This got me to thinking....
Many of us struggle greatly (now) with behaviors that we have done since childhood. We learned a sinful habit way back then and have diligently tried to overcome it through prayer, Bible reading, and even counseling, but it still plagues us. This is of great discouragement to us because we think we would be moving along nicely if it only were not for that one little thing....that particular sin habit, those particular thoughts, that specific desire of the heart that cries out to be met...
These things have become very powerful in our heart and soul and have been completely integrated into our thought processes. These same sinful thoughts, beliefs, and desires have had such an impact on our heart that we have believed them, and obeyed them with all our strength! This has led many of us to heartache and painful things in our lives. We search for a way out and we desire the pain to stop. We feel helpless and we feel hopeless when we succumb once again to that same old sin habit, same old sinful pattern.
There is hope!
You can rewrite your thought patterns, beliefs, and desires based on the Word of God and in so doing you will be creating new "recitation" for your heart to meditate upon. This is a process, and won't happen overnight but I can tell you that reading, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture will have a profound impact on your heart.
"Heart" is the biblical term for your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, desires, soul, will, essentially any immaterial part of you that cannot be touched. The Bible speaks of the heart over 700 times and it is almost exclusively with respect to the internal workings of the human soul.
As God's Word begins to permeate your heart you will notice that your thoughts flow in a different direction. You will begin to realize change is taking place in small ways at first, but as you continue to apply the truth you are reading and internalizing the greater and faster these changes will be!
I also want to stress the purpose for these changes is really to glorify God by how you are living your life. The benefit to you personally is that you will sin less, and rejoice more! Your goal ought not be to stay out of trouble with someone, or to look good, or to get ahead in life but instead, the reason for all change should be to glorify God. That is the sole reason we are here!
Take some time today and sit down with your Bible and find verses that you can begin to meditate upon. Commit them to your heart and when you are tempted to sin recall them and speak them. Think on (as Phil 4:8 and following says) good things, true things, holy things, righteous things- Godly things! You will soon see that your mind cannot say on both sinful and righteous thoughts at the same time.
Righteous living, erasing the old tapes, all this comes with meditation and memorization of the Word of God and putting it into practice.