READING: Keep Your Way Pure
Psalms 119:1-88, 1 Corinthians 7:20-40
“I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”
At the time, I memorized the texts only because a Sunday School teacher challenged me to do so. I was a young believer, struggling with the reality of teenage sin, and I did not know what to do. It seemed like the more I tried to be holy, the tougher the battles became. “You have to read and memorize the Word,” my teacher told me. In fact, he directed me to Psalm 119:9-11 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” To be honest, I thought that victory would magically come simply because I memorized these words, but I learned otherwise. The battles continued for far too long.
Now many years later, I’ve learned much more about the power of the Word (though I’m still learning . . . ). First, it truly is by obeying God’s Word that we find victory. Knowing and obeying the Bible are non-negotiable steps to overcoming sin. Second, seeking God with all our heart cannot be separated from His Word. He makes Himself known to us through the Bible, and trying to know Him without listening to Him via the Word is a fruitless endeavor. Third, treasuring His Word through memorizing it is indeed a significant step of obedience. Temptation can strike unexpectedly and powerfully. Often, we don’t have time to go find a Bible, locate a verse, and then read it when temptation strikes; temptation’s force and lure are so immediate that our proper response must be immediate as well. The believer who can quickly pull the Word from his heart because he has memorized it is better prepared for the enemy’s onslaught.
Jesus, of course, modeled this truth for us on the Mount of Temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). There, the enemy sought to lure Jesus into sin, and three times He quoted the book of Deuteronomy in response. The devil fled (at least for a season) when Jesus drove him out through the Word in His heart and on His lips. We’re not Jesus, but we’re still wise to stand against Satan with the Word stored in our heart.
- Plan to memorize Scripture, perhaps beginning with the Psalm 119:9-11 text that is the focus of this devotion.
- Be alert for non-believing friends who might serve as your listening ear as you practice reciting the Word. You can share the gospel with them as you memorize.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to treasure Your Word in my life. Forgive me when I’ve allowed so much other stuff to get in the way of my Scripture memorization.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 119:89-176, 1 Corinthians 8