"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." Proverbs 3:1-2
The thing I appreciate the most about this verse is that middle part. I am supposed to let my heart keep God's commandments. This is where the Pharisees got it wrong - they thought they were supposed to keep the commandments on the outside, and in so doing would sanctify their hearts. But the way it is supposed to work is the other way around - if we remember God's teachings and let our heart keep his commandments (i.e., love the Lord your God with all your heart...and love your neighbor as yourself) it will ooze out and become who we really are on the outside as well. God will take care of the sanctification part via his grace.
And so a word here about politics. I'm all for voting our conscience based on our (in my case Christian) moral perspective, but we need to realize that we as Christians will really never change the world through political action and the enforcement of moral-based laws. What I mean is that even if we were able to pass laws that forced everyone in our country to act like Christians are supposed to act, to "keep God's commandments," in other words, it might possibly make it a more pleasant place to live, but it won't truly achieve God's will for this country, will it? It won't actually bring about anyone's salvation.
For example, the bible teaches that homosexual behavior is sin, right? Most Christians would agree. Let's say that we could all get together and write an initiative to put on the ballot that makes all homosexual behavior illegal...like it used to be. Then, just for the sake of argument, let's say that the law passes and works so well that all homosexual behavior ceases to exist. Good, huh? Well, maybe so, but let me ask you this: are any of those formerly homosexual folks now going to spend eternity with God simply because they're now either celibate or are engaging in acceptable heterosexual behavior in a married relationship? The answer is no. Unless they accept God's grace they are doomed along with the rest of the non-believing world. The only way homosexuals can be saved is by God's grace, just like me and you, and the only way homosexual behavior will ever end is if homosexuals learn to keep God's commandments in their heart. Changing them on the outside doesn't work. God's grace working on their insides will work.
And that was only an example, remember, because the same truth applies for all types of behavior that do nothing but keep us separated from God - including things like hatred and bitterness and fear. These things can't be cured by changing the way we are on the outside, only by letting our hearts keep God's commandments.
But then there's that whole thing about the length of days and years of life and peace that will be added to me, according to the verse. I think maybe it's telling me that if I remember and keep God's commandments in my heart, my days and years will be full of that abundant life that Jesus was talking about - not necessarily longer as a measurement of time, but longer in the sense of our experience of life; we'll experience life more abundantly if our hearts are in the right place with God, and peace will be the centerpiece, so to speak.
Lord, I want to internalize your commands. Help me to truly love - to love the way you do. Keep my focus on the things that are important to you - things of the heart. Help me to always remember your teachings and to keep them in my heart forever.