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.
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)
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 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 pushes me to my knees.
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.
Join the Conversation:
What techniques do you use to hide God's word in your heart?