This morning’s devotion comes courtesy of Matt Johnson.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

See if there is any wicked way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.

Years ago my wife and I were embroiled in a controversy about some friends that had each of us pretty tore up. Actually, truth be told, I was the one embroiled and tore up, not her.

And since I tend to beat dead horses with my words, I was nit-picking on and on, about these friends’ bad-mannered behavior, how they were just so selfish, illogical even. “Surely she’s seeing this,” I thought at my wife, as I continued to rant on about the hypocrisy–the hypocrisy!–impressing myself with my smooth argument, my own nimble dismantling of my imaginary opponent’s point of view.

To be honest, she didn’t even have to say a word. All it took was that glazed-over look and suddenly it struck me: These people I was talking about (no longer friends) and their crude logic had ceased to be people at all and had merely become ideas. Ideas upon which I could easily do the intellectual judo from a safe, no-less poisonous distance. In a short one-sided conversation, I was alone in my own sad empire.

This was going to require some prayer.

Later that week, while standing in the shower, I remembered an interesting quote that I’d heard that week. It went something like: What you think about in your free time reveals your true religion. “Very insightful, I’ll have to use that sometime,” I thought as I lathered up and got back to my very insightful critique of my new frenemies. I froze mid-armpit scrub. In an instant, my circulatory system went to ice water. There, in the shower,  I’d just found my true religion, and it was ugly.

These days shower time serves as a kind of barometer for where I’m really at. I call it “The Shower Test”. Wretched man that I am, most mornings, I cannot help myself. I’m back to the make-believe-opponent-conquering the moment the hot water hits me. This is where the Psalm 139 comes in. The moment the Spirit kindly reminds me of my dark religious proclivities, I can automatically pray this psalm. Some days it is a joyful repentance, other days it’s merely verse memorization exercises.

Either way, in finding me out, I find He is faithful to lead me back to the way everlasting.