(The following is post 2 of 5 on Five Personal Benefits of God's Word)
John Bunyan had the following sentence written in his Bible: ‘Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book’. The Psalmist also wrote a similar thought in Psalm 119:11, when he said, ‘Thy word have I treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee’. Saturating our minds with scripture is the key defeating sin in our lives. The Word of God is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal as we engage in the daily battle against sin!
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil in Matthew 4, He didn’t respond with some cleverly crafted spur-of-the-moment argument. He replied to the devil by using scripture. Jesus got out the sword of the Spirit and began to wield it, cutting the enemy down to size. What was the result? The devil ‘left him’ (Matt. 4:11). Jesus had a reservoir of scripture on the tip of His tongue, ready for the brutal assaults of temptation.
Think about the times you are tempted to sin. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that every temptation has a way of escape. He says,
“No temptation has overtaken you but such is as common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it”.
Paul says temptation is common! But with each temptation, God has provided a way to escape it. He’s saying that we don’t have to succumb!
Interestingly, just a few verses before this passage, Paul describes the experiences of Israel’s past are examples for us to learn from. Things written about in the Old Testament (God’s Word!), were written for our instruction (1 Cor. 10:11). There it is! We look into God’s Word and see consequences of sin in the lives of various people and we use that as a roadmap in avoiding the same sins that they committed. We see certain signposts along the way when we read scripture, and they are giving us direction as we travel. If we are willing to follow God’s roadmap, then certainly His Word will keep us from sin.
Consider the following short verses:
- Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33).
- Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Rom. 12:9).
- Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth (Eph. 4:20).
- Wives, be subject to your husbands... husbands love your wives (Eph. 5:22;25).
- Children, be obedient to your parents (Col. 3:20).
- Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19).
- Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord (James 4:10).
- Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:18).
Simple obedience to these verses, and ones like them, will keep you from sin. If you ‘treasure’ these kinds of passages in your heart, they will be effective in keeping you from sin.
What are your Bible reading habits like? Is reading and studying the Bible a mechanical exercise? Are you reading ‘just to get it in’? Or are you looking for passages that will heighten your sensitivity to sin?
What specific things can you do to apply verses that will cause you to sin less?
Write a brief prayer of confession to the Lord.
Thy Word have I treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee. - Psalm 119:11