“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
Manifold reasons abound to study the Bible. Not the least of those reasons is the one taught us in the verse quoted above. We must learn God’s word to develop a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord and avoidance of sin.
Sins are the “bricks and mortar” that build the wall of separation between an unsaved person and the God Who wants fellowship with him. In like manner, sin in our lives as regenerated believers can put up higher and higher walls that prevent the increase of our intimacy with Him and usefulness to Him. If we’re going to be Spirit-filled and be used of God for His glory, the walls have to come down. So we need to know God’s word. And, more specifically, we need to read God’s word with a humble desire to obey.
That’s why we hide the word in our hearts. Not just to know God. Not just to feel good. Not just to tickle our ego and make us feel intellectually superior that we understand deep doctrinal truths. But to be transformed, and to be made increasingly holy in our conduct.
How tragic it is when we as Christians don’t act on what God teaches us. We hear a great sermon and say “Amen,” but when the service is over, we don’t do “Amen.” The message is forgotten before we reach the parking lot, because we didn’t approach the word with a desire to obey.
My brothers and sisters, let me speak plainly: If the word of God is not continually changing the way you think, speak, and act, then something is seriously wrong with your approach to it. Because God’s word, when served up by gifted teachers and applied to hearts by the indwelling Holy Spirit, produces not just good feelings, but deeply convicting ones. It is a sharp sword, cutting us to the quick and dividing bone from marrow. It searches the core of our being and brings to the surface every impurity, every falsehood, every evil passion, and every defect in our character. It places before us everything in us that prevents us from being conformed to the image of His perfect Son, and says, “This is the way you really are. Now let God change you.”
The flesh all-too-willingly trains itself to ignore the promptings of the Spirit and the Word. If you look into your heart today and find that you have been so trained, run to God’s word like a man parched with thirst in a scorched desert would run when he catches a glimpse of an oasis in the distance. Kneel at your bedside or in your prayer closet with Psalm 119 open before you, pleading with God to return to you a heightened sensitivity to His word and a broader vision of its value. Allow Him to re-train your mind, so that from this day forward, when He speaks, you listen with an ear willing to obey. That’s why His word is in your heart–so that you will obey Him. “My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin.” (1 John 2:1a)
Has church become a place you go each week and unwittingly miss opportunity after opportunity to be changed by God’s correction, encouragement, and instruction? Don’t delay in asking the Lord to remedy the situation. Allow God’s word to awaken you from spiritual slumber this very hour. Then praise Him for this wondrous truth: His word, hidden in your heart, will teach and enable you to “go and sin no more.”