I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11 ESV)
Sometimes I think we forget the importance of storing up God’s word in our hearts. Growing up in the church I think a lot of Christians become tired of memorizing scripture. They have been told to do it all their lives and it is impossible for most normal people to memorize and retain the entire Bible.
Not to mention the fact that there are so many different versions and if you don’t choose the version you will stick with for the rest of your life you will just have to re-memorize it in another one.
But there lies the problem. Memorizing and storing up are not necessarily equivalent. Just because you have an entire chapter of Philippians memorized, doesn’t mean you have actually stored it up. You could know it perfectly word for word, and it still means absolutely nothing in your life.
Other versions of this particular verse in Psalm 119 say “hidden” instead of stored. Either way it is something that is thought to be of value. There is no value in memorizing the entire Bible. The value lies in how it transforms us.
I still like to memorize. I am a perfectionist, what can I say. But I have to continually remind myself of the purpose behind it. I want to pray scripture over myself. I want to have God’s word readily available to speak truth into the lives of those around me. I don’t want to show off how much I know. In an instant, I could lose my memory or become disabled in some way preventing me from retaining information. I am constantly praying that God would really help me to store it in my heart and not just my brain.
I see the way this storing up affects others lives. My grandmother is getting old and losing her short term memory. She gets confused easily and doesn’t even remember what happened just a few hours before. But she still knows her Savior and she knows how to tell people about Him. She is the sweetest person and makes friends out of perfect strangers wherever she goes. She may even still have Scripture memorized, but her impact is not due to what her brain can retain.
It is due to her sweet spirit; her gentleness and her way of listening to those who need to unload their sorrows. She is unselfish in every way, and always wants to do everything she can to further God’s Kingdom. Only the Word of God can do that in a person’s heart.
The most important part of this verse is that storing up God’s Word gives us the ability to not sin against Him. That should be our desire. We were made to bring Him glory. And if we sin, we cannot accomplish this. Jesus is good and our Savior regardless, but while on this earth our desire should be to become people who are continually glorifying Him!
The only way to do that is to not sin against Him. And the only way to stop sinning is by storing up His Word.