Hiding God’s Word in my Heart

The New Year is peeking around the corner so I’ve decided to do something new—writing out God’s word.

After reading that Erica Wiggenhorn writes a Psalm by hand each day (check out her post here), I remembered God’s command in Deuteronomy 17:18.

“When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests.”

Hiding God's Word in my Hearts

Writing God’s law by hand was a requirement to be king of Israel. There must be something in it. Something that pushes the words past the eyes and down to the heart. I wonder if this is what David is speaking of in Psalm 119.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,

That I may not sin against You. (NASB)

or

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (KJV)

The Hebrew word used here means to hide, treasure, store up, defend.

Writing down God’s word as we read it causes us to slow down, savor, swallow, and digest. Unsurprisingly, science backs up this concept.

I began in the Psalms but decided to switch over to 1 Peter this week. As I opened my notebook and began copying down Peter’s words, context and place became more real. I could almost smell the smoke from the smoldering ashes of Rome as Peter addressed Christians who were bearing the first wave of Nero’s wrath.

God's Word, Living & Active

I felt as if I were rubbing shoulders with Peter’s amanuensis, Silas (1 Peter 5:12), as I deeply processed words I had only previously skimmed. I was no longer able to skim.

This was no longer just 1 Peter chapter 1. This was Peter, the impulsive fisherman, talking to me. I was writing his words. Learning so many things at his knee. Then Peter said,

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

This floored me. Tears filled my eyes. I had to stop, go to my room, and fall on my face before God.

This was Peter speaking. The Peter who knew how incredibly precious that blood was. He had seen it drip from Jesus’s face and body after he had betrayed Jesus.

This was the Peter that had been forgiven and redeemed by that same blood.

When Peter says precious, he means precious. It was so precious to him that Peter dedicated the rest of his life to Christ’s service—even to the point of martyrdom. When they led Peter to his own cross, he refused to be crucified like his Savior. He requested to be crucified upside down, not considering himself worthy to die in the same manner as his precious Lord.

That was a man who had learned to love and fear God more than he loved and feared people. So when he said, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth,” my ears perked up.

Right before this, Peter also said, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

“If we address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work

Because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

Imitate Christ, our Perfect Standard

A.W. Tozer wrote, “God is his own standard. God imitates nobody and is influenced by nobody. He is never forced to act out of character. Nothing can force God to act otherwise than faithfully to Himself and to us—no person, no circumstance, nothing.”

God is his own standard. His own unit of measurement. He is holy. His character is perfect. And we are to be like Him. Thinking about these truths brought questions to my mind.

God is his own standard. His own unit of measurement. He is holy. His character is perfect. And we are to be like Him. Click To Tweet

God has faithfully displayed His character to us from the opening בְּ of the Torah to the last ἀμήν of Revelation. But does my character mimic His? Do I imitate God or am I easily persuaded to imitate others instead?

One question wound its way through my mind and hit me harder than all of the others. Do I lower my imitation to men/women I admire instead of God Himself? And as a result, do I lower my standard of holiness to men/women I admire instead of God Himself?

If Jesus came to give abundant life, am I living a life that is less than He has offered because my measuring stick for holiness is less than He has prescribed?

And in return, does this allow sin, complacency, or mediocrity to creep into my life?

“If we address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work…”

God doesn’t judge on a curve. Jesus’s holiness shatters any curve and calls us each to a higher mode of living. When we stand before God’s judgement seat, it will be alone—not in groups. Our work won’t be judged against the work of the pastor, blogger, teacher, wife, husband, mother, father, friend, or worshipper down the street. It will be judged according to the only measuring stick that makes sense, the only standard that’s true—Jesus Christ.

That’s the kind of thought that bolstered Peter on his way back to Rome to be crucified.

That’s the kind of thought that spurred Paul to write 2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:13.

That’s the kind of thought that pushes me to my knees.

Prayer:

Holy Father,

Thank You for Your great mercy which has caused us to be born again. Open our eyes to the pricelessness of Jesus’s precious blood. Humble our hearts to submit to your Spirit. Convict us where we set up false standards. Teach us what it means to be holy and mold us into the image of Your Son. Be King in our lives today.

Amen

Join the Conversation:

What techniques do you use to hide God's word in your heart?

16 thoughts on “Hiding God’s Word in my Heart”

    1. Melissa,

      ‘Pause and read and reflect.’ You’re right. Being intentional is so important. I think that’s why writing out the Bible by hand is helping me so much. Because it’s making me pause and read and reflect. Maybe it’s just the time of life I’m in right now with my attention flying every which way, but I’m so easily distracted. Thanks for reading!

  1. Peter SAW Christ so it was more precious to him. But we should have an intimacy with Christ that drives us to the same feeling!

    For me, the Verse in Psalm 119 that says that “I have hidden your word in my heart, so I may not sin against you” has been a key life verse for me over the years. Gods truths in His word keep us from sin if we meditate on them “day and night”!

  2. Wow – I had never thought about writing out God’s word in that way.

    I love the way you have mulled over the phrase and words from Scripture in this blog. it is like hearing the cogs your brain working and that is making my brain work too.

    This is the question that I shall dwell on today: If Jesus came to give abundant life, am I living a life that is less than He has offered?

    1. That made me laugh, Bob, because I’m not sure anyone deserves to have to go through seeing how the cogs of my brain work. 😂 But seriously, I’m glad that that question is giving you pause the way it did me. Thank you for reading.

  3. Wow – you have challenged me. I have never done this before, writing out the Word of God. Actually, I did—once. There is the guy at my church who felt God call him to have the entire congregation complete a handwritten Bible. So, many of us chose a chapter of the Bible to hand write out. He finally got it done, and it filled many volumes! I grew a greater appreciatation of the life of a scribe by doing that, and I also recall the chapter I did—Job 22. So, yeah, I agree there is something that goes deeper into our spirits when we write out God’s word. I should do it more often! God bless you for the encouragement.

  4. First, good job with amanuensis. That’s a $10 word if I’ve ever heard one.
    Second, I really appreciate what you’re laying out here. You say, Do I lower my imitation to men/women I admire instead of God Himself? And as a result, do I lower my standard of holiness to men/women I admire instead of God Himself? I’ve thought about this in the context of discipleship. Many people are confused about living like Jesus, but they can imitate their leader. Paul even says that his readers should imitate him as he imitates Christ.
    This is great stuff, but it can be corrupted. Our respect and honor for people can become reverance or at worst, idolatry. We might lose sight of a person’s sinful nature. They become a charicature instead of a photo.
    That’s a worry I have in our Pinterest culture. We get caught up in our image for fear of losing relevance as leaders. Then our followers expect carefully curated lives to emulate. It’s an evil disaster.
    Really deep stuff, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Wow. Chip, you always challenge me with your comments. I love this idea of a leader becoming a caricature instead of a photo. That is the best mind picture I could possibly ask for for what is in my heart. And it’s true, with our Pinterest/Instagram culture, we hesitate to show our imperfections and we forget that those we admire actually have them. I also read an article by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend of Boundaries that talked about how some people have trouble living in the gray areas of life so they either see someone they love as all good (when times are good) or all bad (when times are bad). I’ll have to find that article again for reference. But it leads into a place where we idolize those we admire. Thank you for these comments. You have me thinking again.

  5. Stephanie, I think you make so many insightful and thoughtful points. If we do not get God’s Word deep in our hearts we can so easily begin to focus on the horizontal, and start to worship things of the world. But if we spend time in spiritual disciplines, such as reading and studying Scripture, we integrate what we are reading with our hearts and minds and souls. It helps to keep us looking vertically and worshipping the One we should be. I thought you asked a great question in relation to this, “Do I lower my imitation to men/women I admire instead of God Himself? And as a result, do I lower my standard of holiness to men/women I admire instead of God Himself?” How easy it is to fall in to thinking small, and begin idolizing what is in front of us or around us. Yet, God is so much grander and majestic then any earthly idol no matter how righteous and good they may seem. Thanks for the post!

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