“Your Word I Have Hidden in My Heart, that I Might Not Sin Against You”
Dealing with temptation? I would say so; every person deals with it—especially young people like you! In fact, the devil will not leave you alone since he knows that young Christians like you have always had great potential to defeat him (1 John 2:13).
“How can someone overcome temptation?” That is a great question! There is a wonderful portion of Scripture right in the middle of the Bible, Psalm 119, that can help you (and any Christian) overcome temptation. This whole Psalm is a tribute to the Word, and verse 11 shows us how important God’s Word is in dealing with temptation. Let’s break the verse down.
In this chapter, the psalmist refers to the Scriptures with several reverent terms: the law of the Lord (vs. 1), the ways of the Lord (vs. 15), the judgments of the Lord (vs. 30), the testimony of the Lord’s mouth (vs. 88), the ordinances of the Lord (vs. 91), the commandments of his God (vs. 115), and the righteous Word of God (vs. 123).
These terms show that his loyalty was not to human philosophy, worldly advice, modern science, family religion, majority’s opinion, political correctness, cry for tolerance, clergy interpretation, ancient tradition, latest fashion, or even his own desires and thoughts. Only the Word flowing from the Divine Mind enjoyed his complete trust (vs. 160). What about you?
“I Have Hidden...”
The psalmist’s heart was a permanent storage place for God’s Word. He read and listened to it with discernment, received it with joy, kept it with perseverance, defended it with boldness, and cherished it selflessly (cf. Matthew 13:18-23).
Note the statements that reveal the constant presence of the Word in his life: “I will not forget Your word” (vss. 16,141,153); “shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever” (vs. 44); “I seek Your precepts” (vs. 45); “I do not turn aside from Your law” (vss. 51,157,102); “I believe Your commandments” (vs. 66); “Your commandments…are ever with me” (vs. 98); “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (vs. 112); and “I do Your commandments” (vs. 166).
As Spurgeon pointed out, the psalmist’s heart “would be kept by the word because he kept the word in his heart.” What about you?
“In My Heart...”
The psalmist mentioned his “heart”—the deepest part of his being. Note everything God’s Word was for him: his joy (vss. 14,47,70,111,117,162), his meditation (vss. 15,78,99,148), his delight (vss. 24,77,92,103,143), his life (vss. 25,40,93,156), his hope (vss. 43,81,114,147), his love (vss. 47-48,97,113,140,167), his comfort (vss. 50,52), his treasure (vss. 72,127), his light (vs. 105), his fear (vss. 120,161), his desire (vss. 131,174), his praise (vss. 164,171), his priority (vs. 173), and his help (vs. 175).
All of this shows that God’s Word had a special, constant, and secure part in his life. It was not just in his hands, under a pillow, on a coffee table, or in a forgotten place of his mind. He loved God’s Word with all his heart (vss. 34,58,69) and made it the reason for the main activities of his life. What about you?
“That I Might Not Sin…”
What was the psalmist’s fundamental purpose for keeping the Word? To avoid sinning. Sin is humanity’s perennial problem; it is an ungodly action (vs. 3), an impure way (vs. 9), a wandering path (vs. 10), a proud look and a cursed direction (vs. 21), a worthless thing (vs. 37), a slavery condition (vs. 45), a communion of wickedness (vs. 61), a hypocritical attitude (vs. 113), an evil thought (vs. 115), a state of oppression (vss. 121,134), a false way (vs. 128), and a life with no hope (vs. 155).
This shows that his constant spiritual exercise and love for the Word were not just an effort to please his parents, a search for a healthy lifestyle, a dream to make a difference, or just a desire to receive personal honor. The psalmist had filled his heart with God’s Word in order for sin not to penetrate or contaminate it (cf. Proverbs 4:23; Mark 7:20-22). What about you?
Sinning against a neighbor certainly is a serious matter, but sinning against the God of heaven is an indescribable tragedy (cf. Hebrews 10:31). While others wanted to please men and themselves, the psalmist’s goal was to please the Lord (vss. 61,70,113,141). He would not deflect his eyes from God to delight in unrighteousness (Psalm 101:3); he would not leave God for his family’s sake (Matthew 10:37); he would not disobey God to respect men (Acts 5:29); he would not give up God to give in to the world (Matthew 16:26; James 4:14); and he would not ignore God to keep his own will (Matthew 26:42).
The psalmist kept the Word of God in order not to sin against God. What about you?
Although it is true that no Christian is completely perfect (cf. 1 John 1:5-10), there is no way to please God and avoid sin without treasuring His Word in the deepest part of our minds and hearts. Psalm 119:11 is a verse in which all of us, including young people like you, should meditate if we want to find God’s favor and spiritual holiness. This is a great and constant reminder to keep the best thing (the Word), in the best place (the heart), with the best purpose (not to sin), before the best Being (God).