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The Deterrent to Sin

Psalm 119:11 (ESV) — I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.


Everyone sins. This isn’t anything new to folks reading this, but establishing this foundation before moving forward can be helpful. Not only does everyone sin, but everyone is commanded to be holy as the Lord our God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). This is something taught in the Bible and commanded of Christians. This isn’t something for the super-exceptional Christians to pursue, but the baseline meaning of what defines Christians.


The question is: how do we do this? How do we actively fight against sin? 


Our passage today shows us the pathway for how to do this. We let Scripture be our guide.


The psalmist writes in 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” The psalmist actively stores God’s word in his heart. What does this mean? It means he not only reads it, but he reflects on it, memorizes it, and lets its truths soak into his bones. The Scriptures become life-giving when they are internalized. The purpose for this storing up of the Word of God is so he will not sin against God. Notice that the way the psalmist intends to fight sin and live holy is to have the Scriptures dwelling in the heart. 

How does this help deter sin? First, it makes us aware of what actions, words, and thoughts qualify as sins. The Scriptures reveal to us God’s standard. To have the Word in our hearts gives us a great sense of awareness of sin. Second, the Scriptures tell us what God requires of us. It is not only what we are to avoid, but what we are to do that Scripture makes plain. Instead of stealing, we are to be generous. Instead of being foolish, we are to seek wisdom. Third, storing the Word in our hearts draws us nearer to God. God speaks and communes with us through Scripture. It is the presence of the joy of communion with God that makes sin more abhorrent to us. Store the Word of God in your heart. Let Scripture be your guide.

Reflection & Journal:

- What are some of the challenges people face in storing God’s Word in their hearts?

- How can we practically store the Word in our hearts? What are some methods for achieving this?

- Why is Scripture the best guide for fighting sin?

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