I will live with integrity of heart in my house. I will not set anything godless before my eyes.
Our thoughts are influenced through what our minds receive through our senses, especially the sense of vision. The heart must control the eyes or the eyes, and ultimately the world, will dominate the heart. As Christ said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).
We cannot escape the influence of shameful things if we dwell on them in our thoughts. They will corrupt our values, undermine our integrity, and downgrade our devotion to God. Immediately many will think this refers mostly or only to the spread of pornography in today’s world, and though pornography certainly is a “godless” thing, it is not the only area of concern. Whatever draws us away from God is the danger and pornography is just one among many other influences, such as self-pride.
David, the psalmist, likely had in mind pagan idols, battlefield gore, the vanity of kings, and especially the lure of materialism. Our souls are darkened by exposure to those things that appeal to our lusts and pride, that distort the dignity of our fellow human being, that play to our fears without resolving them in grace, or that take our minds off of Christ.
David gave a simple solution: we cannot control everything in the world but we can control what happens in our home. He stressed integrity in the Christian home. A Christian home should reflect the Christian faith, perspectives, and priorities, that we love the Lord first and foremost. David would not “set anything godless” before his eyes, but the negative is not enough by itself, it is not enough just to not look at godless things: we must also consider godly matters. So elsewhere he completes his thoughts that he shall set before his eyes (and his other senses) those things that remind him of God, of holiness, of love, and of grace, and that he will meditate on the goodness of God.
Some of the most precious days of my personal spiritual growth were days where I took a Scripture and meditated on it all day, such as “He restores my soul,” letting that thought soak into my consciousness. The voice of God speaks to our hearts through His Spirit (Romans 8:16), actually within our spirits that have been brought to life through Christ. And focusing on the world can present a dangerous distraction in our path to maturity. To grow in grace, place your thoughts on Christ, on His love, in His word, and communicate with His Spirit.
Lord, let us meditate on You and on Your goodness and not be damaged or distracted by the godlessness in the world. Amen.