How does God’s Word keep us from sin? (Psalm 119:11)

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

Psalms 119:11

ESV - 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Clarify Share Report Asked February 24 2021 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The cited verse speaks of "hiding" God's word in one's heart, which I interpret to mean lengthy and deep study of it to the point of being able to recall its guidance or commandments quickly or reflexively from memory, especially on occasions where the possibility of committing sin presents itself. In such situations, such quick recall can act as a barrier to yielding to the temptation in question.

Jesus illustrated this when Satan tempted Him to commit sinful actions in Matthew 4:1-11, with Satan even citing Scripture in support of his temptation. In each case, Jesus immediately countered the temptation with other Scripture verses clearly indicating that yielding to Satan's temptation would be sinful and forbidden by God.

February 24 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
The answer is simple really, when we understand the nature of sin, and the tools [His Word and His Spirit] that God has given us to overcome it.


"When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15)

Before we become a Christian, sin starts with the evil desires of our heart, our sinful human nature. These desires influence what we think about. Our minds become focused on gratifying these desires in our thoughts, words and deeds. Once we give in to the temptations, we become "hooked". Gratifying these desires gives us great pleasure, but the pleasure is fleeting, it doesn't last, so we have to sin again and again to get the pleasure. One sin leads to another sin to keep gratifying these desires. Over time we develop addictive behaviors that we don't even think about, we just react and give in when the temptation comes.

When we become a Christian our sinful nature is crucified on the cross with Jesus and we are born again. Our sinful human nature is gone and we receive Jesus's divine nature, the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us. Our struggle is now with the desires of our flesh - the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the pride of our lives. These evil patterns of thinking, speaking and acting ruled our lives when our sinful human nature was in control. Now we must put them to death by changing what we think about, to overcome their power in our lives.


The Holy Spirit begins to place new desires in our hearts, to please God, and to live holy and righteous lives. But we need to renew our minds so we stop going back to these old patterns of behavior. That is where the WORD OF GOD [the Bible comes in]. As we read, study and meditate on the words of the bible, our thinking changes. We stop reacting to the addictive behaviors of our old life and start choosing what is pleasing to God. Reading the bible grows our faith, so we are able to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to act upon the new desires that he has placed in our hearts. 

Over time, as we act upon these new desires [God's will for our lives], new patterns of thoughts, words and actions emerge that fulfil God's plan and purpose for our lives. We discover that these desires are "good, pleasing to us, and perfectly suited for who we are". The pleasure we get from obeying God far exceeds anything we experienced in our old life. And the pleasure doesn't diminish, it gets better and better. When we experience how God uses us to advance his kingdom of justice, righteousness, love and faithfulness all around us, we become filled with passion and excitement to fulfil our mission every day.

But there is a huge warning here also. This transformation is a life long process. As long as we are diligent to continue renewing our minds with the word of God we will overcome sin in our lives [never sinless but we will sin less]. When we start ignoring the Word of God, thinking we have this Christian life all figured out, we will start to fall back into our old patterns of behavior and sin will grab hold of our lives again.

Let's keep the faith and be diligent everyday to invest in our spiritual growth. We will never be disappointed with the pleasure that God gives us for obeying him.

February 24 2021 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

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