“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments. Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:9-11).
One of the first things I started doing when I became a Christian was memorizing Bible verses, and it is a practice that I still continue to this day, many years later. Why? It was because I discovered the truth of Psalm 119:9-11 very early on in my walk of faith. I discovered that sin was something that came very easily to me, and that the only way I could resist temptation, and live a pure and holy life, was to avail myself of the weapons that God had given to me. The most important weapon God has given us in the battle against temptation is HIS WORD.
The FIRST KEY is to read the Bible.
If we don’t read the Bible, then we can’t obey the Bible, because we won’t know what it says. So the starting point must be to READ THE BIBLE. There’s an old Sunday school song that says, “Read your Bibles, pray every day, and you’ll GROW, GROW, GROW.” How do we grow spiritually, and become more like Jesus? Through praying and reading the Bible.
The SECOND KEY is to seek God with our whole heart.
We MUST be diligent in our pursuit of God, and our pursuit of purity. Holiness doesn’t happen by accident. Jesus said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38).
The THIRD KEY is to hide God’s Word in our heart.
This means to meditate on and memorize Bible verses so that we don’t sin against God. There are two ways that memorizing Bible verses helps to keep us from sinning against God. The Bible says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2). When we read God’s Word, God begins to renew our minds, and we learn what is right and wrong. The second thing that happens when we memorize Bible verses is that it strengthens our faith. Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Hiding God’s Word in our heart teaches us what is right and wrong, and also gives us the spiritual strength to choose to do the right thing. Jesus is our example in this in Matthew chapter four. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, every time the devil tried to tempt Him, Jesus responded by quoting Scripture, “It is written.” The Word is our Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).
Let me leave you with one final Scripture. This is one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized, and it is a great strength and comfort to me whenever I am tempted. It’s First Corinthians 10:13: “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” If you’ve never memorized a Bible verse before, that’s a good one to start with.
Psalm 119:1-2: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart.”
Pastor Chris Jordan