The development of habits, thoughts and behaviors comes through both ongoing discipline and repeated instruction. We become proficient at something through the repetitive "doing" or "experiencing" of that task or behavior. God's training of our lives encompasses many aspects, but none so soul-liberating as the ordering of our thought life. The training of God that is directed toward our thought life, bringing into alignment our thoughts with his mind, allows us to develop behaviors that actually build our character on a solid foundation.
Train me, God, to walk straight; then I'll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear. (Psalm 86:11-12)
The ability to walk the path God has laid out for us comes as we are submissive to the training God brings into our life - especially as it applies to our thought life. When I say "submissive" I am not referring to some mamby-pamby kind of response to God. I am referring to us taking the lead to center our thoughts on him, leading to the ability to refocus the desires of our heart toward the things that delight him. There is some effort exerted on our part, but it has huge rewards, so it is 'worth' that expenditure.
The ability to walk God's true path comes not only in our being trained, but in our "being put together" by God. We need to see the unity of heart and mind as important to being successful in our walk - we cannot have a divided thought-life as it will lead to a divided heart focus. Nothing could be truer than the fact that what the mind is inclined to dwell upon leads the heart in that same direction. If we think it, we often find ourselves saying and doing it! We need our minds aligned with his in order for our hearts to be affected by his heart - in order for our actions to actually reflect our relationship connection with him.
Undivided mind and heart - the basis of true worship. We are presented with the idea that we really enter into a different "level" of relationship with God when we have an undivided mind and heart - both functioning in unity with God's plan for our lives. Elsewhere in scripture, we are reminded that a double-minded man is unstable in all he does (James 1:8). There is no stability because there are no "constants" in his life. While there is always a place for variability in life, the mind is not one of those places!
What I mean is that we need to have focus - the right focus helps to determine the right outcome. As a young student in science class, the teachers introduced me to the idea of forming a hypothesis. A hypothesis was a basic idea or thought of what the outcome of the experiment would be - take this action, get that response (or so we thought). We would set out with one thought in mind, but often get a totally different result in the end. Why? Simply because our hypothesis was not based in fact - it didn't include all the factors that influenced the outcome. When what we desire and then set out to accomplish is based in fact, the outcome is much different.
Both mind and heart must be based in reality - centered on what God teaches, what he holds dear to his heart. This gives us a basis of "fact" from which to live life. The unity of heart and mind, centered upon God, loyal to him and him alone - this is the desired direction of our life. The outcome of that alignment will be phenomenal - just you wait and see!