“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 NIV).
When I first acknowledged God’s calling on my life for ministry over 25 years ago, I said to Him, “You have to teach me Your Word before I can teach it to anyone else.” How naive is that? God knew what I knew and He knew that I would not attempt to tell anyone something that I did not understand. After all, He created me and knows everything about me.
At any rate, I studied–not just read–the bible. I read various translations and spent hours in the library getting an understanding of history–the culture, dress codes, military protocol, everything pertaining to the era of the Old Testament and The New. I spent tons of money on books, comparing and aligning what was said to the bible. And while I was studying, I was praying--“Lord, what does this mean? How can I make sense of this in one place, when you seem to say something different in another? I need insight and confirmation to make sure I’m on the right track.” I said a lot more than this, but I don’t have time or room for all the conversations we had.
But because He is God and because He is good, He always responded to me. He led me to a school of study. He constantly provided me with revelation into His Word and even now, He is yet revealing Himself as I continue to study. By year three into my studies, I began to understand how “hiding the word in my heart” would keep me from sinning against God. When the Word is so deeply embedded into our hearts, every time we think about doing something that is not of God, the Word rises and convicts. If we think we have forgotten, but are willing to hear from Holy Spirit, He will remind of us everything we have been taught.
Now, if we haven’t been taught anything, if we haven’t studied to understand, if we haven’t sought God to make sure we’re on the right track, Holy Spirit cannot bring anything to our remembrance. Nothing in–nothing out. We have to make sure that there is a constant “deposit” of the Word in our hearts, so when we need to make a “withdrawal” we don’t come up having “NSF” (insufficient information) to ward off the attacks of the devil.
When I see some of the things that people say in their conversations online, I know they have not sought God for understanding; they are simply mimicking what someone else has said. When I hear preachers mangle the Word in a message, I know they have not sought God and they certainly have not studied The Word. When people say or type comments about the bible being contradictory, I know they do not understand who God was speaking to and why–for that particular time in history. The bible is not contradictory. God is not a man that He should lie or contradict Himself. When we understand mankind’s history, we get a better understanding of who God is and just how much He loves us.
Want to do yourself a favor and others and fight off every attack from the enemy? Get into the Word and get understanding so when you’re tempted by the lust of your flesh, you’ll have something to fight with in the spirit and win! When the Word is hidden in our hearts, you will immediately recognize the counterfeiters who change God’s Word and lie to accommodate themselves.
Nevertheless, Lord pour out understanding upon all who are willing to receive and place desire in their hearts to want to know Your Word and You better.