“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word…. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” -Psalm 119:9, 11
In these verses we have a mighty antidote for combating sin and temptation in our lives, aiding us in the pursuit of holiness and righteousness in the truth. Although the text speaks of “a young man,” it is certainly for young and old, male and female alike. Apparently, it was a young man who penned this Psalm, and so he wrote it from his perspective. There are two important principles present.
First, God’s word is a means of guarding against sin and temptation. This is the foundational principle and it speaks to the purpose of the Scriptures (at least one of them). The Scriptures serve as sign posts in our daily lives, instructing us in the way to go and supplying ample warnings for any unwanted or dangerous encouters (such as dead ends, steep slopes, etc., just to continue with this roadway analogy). In short, the Scriptures direct us in the will of God.
Second, in order to guard ourselves according to God’s word, we must store His word in our hearts. This is the principle of application, building on the first principle. It’s not enough to know the purpose of God’s word, that it instructs us in the will of God and warns us of dangers and errors (things contrary to God’s will), we must know what those instructions and warnings are. What are we to believe? How are we to live? What should be our reponse to this particular circumstance, and that circumstance? In order to know these things we must store or treasure (NASB) God’s word in our hearts. This will only happen by daily reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing the Scriptures. When we do so, the word truly becomes a part of us – it’s internalized. Therefore, when temptations arise or when puzzling circumstances encounter us, we will be equipped and able to bring God’s word to mind, thus keeping our way pure and faithful to the Lord (see Matt. 4:1-11; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 6:17b; 2 Tim. 3:14-17).
If you would like help or guidance in storing God’s word in your heart, I recommend Fighter Verses.