Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. (Psalms 141:3)
Imagine you have a bucket of water and it’s filled almost to the top. There’s no lid and you have to carry it in both hands along a busy sidewalk. People are all around you, bumping you, shoving you and your goal is not to spill the water. I would see that as an impossible task. No matter how hard I would try, water would get spilled and probably the harder I tried, the more I would spill. Now imagine that bucket represents your heart and the water represents what’s in it. No matter how hard you try, whatever is in your heart is going to spill out into your life and into the lives of others. It cannot be helped. This is why the psalmist prayed: “Set a watch [or guard], O LORD, before my mouth; keep [guard] the door of my lips.” Only the grace of God can give us the grace we need for others. And the psalmist knew he needed more than a guard on his lips. He needed God’s help to keep his heart in line: “Incline not my heart to any evil thing…” (v. 4). He was so intent on keeping his heart right that he even welcomed rebuke when it was necessary: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil…” (v. 5). How many times have we said, written or emailed something we wished we could take back? It’s like trying to unspill water. It’s not possible, not really. We need God’s Word and God’s grace to fill our heart because what goes in will come out.