Today, our writer on the blog is Eric Waweru.
Eric Waweru serves as part of the staff at RBC. He is passionate about preaching the gospel of Christ and personally applying it privately in the lives of the saints. He is married to his lovely wife Kitawa and they are blessed with three children; Nadia, Oren, and Judah.
You don’t need to be a Christian for too long to realize that the Christian life is not a bed of roses, rather it is a road filled with many temptations. On the one hand, we have the goods sold to us by the world: its godless worldview, its sexualized entertainment, and its false promises of wealth and pleasure. On the other hand, we have a willing consumer in our flesh. The enemy within is ready to buy and use these goods. The evil desire in us that is awakened by the world eventually matures into actual sin. Additionally, the Devil is arrogant and crafty, tempting us to give in to our desires, and when we do give in, he accuses us of unrighteousness. Who shall rescue us from such formidable foes? God, in Christ, has furnished us with his word to “wage a good warfare” (1 Timothy 6:12). We do not need to look anywhere else, but to only open our Bibles and find help in the hour of temptation.
Psalm 119:9-11 states:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word | With my whole heart I seek you: let me not wander from your commandments | I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Sufficient for Walking in Purity
Both the young and the old are greatly tempted by the allures of the world and the flesh. The most befitting response to these temptations is what Paul rightly exhorts Timothy to do: “flee youthful passions” (2 Tim 2:22). In addition to this, as the psalmist advises, By guarding [my way] according to your commandments. God’s word alone makes us clean -as Christ tells the disciples “You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you.”(John 15:3 NET). Through the Scriptures, we become clean when we are justified, and it is through the same Word that we are made like Christ, and hence, are continually made clean from the corruption and pollution of the world. As believers, the only way we can purify ourselves (1 John 3:3) is by guarding, and protecting our lives by God’s Word. Christ furnishes us with the resources needed for our growth in our faith. He states, “sanctify them with your truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). We see a lifeguarded by the word of God, in the life of Joseph as he fled from sexual temptation by Potiphar’s wife. This is the testimony of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they lived in the idol-intoxicated world of Babylon. This is how we can live faithfully in our sexualized, god-hating culture – by guarding our lives according to God’s Word. The Scriptures are sufficient for our growth in Christ-likeness as the Spirit uses them to purify and change us. Only God’s word can guard us against the assault of the passions of the flesh, the allure of the world, and the wiles of the devil. So, God’s word is enough for both our purity and our fight for purity.
Sufficient to Keep Us on the True Path
Moreover, the Scriptures have the efficacy of keeping us on the path of holiness. With my whole heart, I seek you, let me not wander from your commandments. This portion closely relates to what Jeremiah says, ‘you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:13 ESV). Even in the midst of our problem, change is not passive, rather, it is active. We have a part to play. We are to earnestly seek the Lord. We do not sit around with ease and laziness. Just as we exert ourselves to find daily food, so should we exert ourselves in seeking our God. And the manner of seeking the Lord is with the whole heart- essentially with our all. In doing so, we fulfill the command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30).
Our Christian lives are marked by weakness and stumbling. We are oftentimes prone to wander and to leave the God we love. So, the Scriptures are our only guardrails and guide; preventing us from getting lost and straying from the true path that leads to life. The commandments here imply the standard of God’s law – all he has commanded and forbidden. He makes an admission that he cannot remain on the path if the Lord does not help him. He cannot obey God if God does not grant him grace to obey. It’s when we are most closely pursuing God that we dread rebelling and straying from him. But when we have cold hearts towards God, worldly thoughts are entertained, we linger longer on the things that tempt us, the means of grace are hurried over, and sin is least resisted. We, therefore, need God’s enabling grace to obey his law and remain on the narrow road. How often do we need the Lord by his word to remain on the path of truth? Daily. The reality is, that we need grace daily, yesterday’s grace will not suffice in keeping us from today’s wandering temptations. We need a daily dose of God’s grace. Where do we get this manna from heaven? Only from God through Christ the living word, and by heeding to his written word. Hence, the Scriptures are sufficient by God’s enabling grace to keep us from rebelling and straying from his path. As Matthew Henry puts it, “the more we have found of the pleasure there is in keeping God’s commandments the more afraid we shall be of wandering from them and the more earnest we shall be in prayer to God for his grace to prevent our wanderings.”
Sufficient to Preserve us from Sin
Not only does the Bible keep us from wandering, but it also preserves us from actual sin. I have stored your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. What then is sin? Observe how he squarely places this as going against God. He says elsewhere, ‘against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’ (Psalm 51:4). Sin, the apostle John observes, is ‘going against the law of God’ (1 John 3:4). Therefore, sin is breaking God’s law by injuring his superiority as the Creator, His governance, and his fatherly care. It is a treasonous act against an infinitely holy and good God. Sin is something we were born with (Psalm 51:5). What then is the remedy for our sin? What cure is there to deal with the cancer of sin? What antidote exists to deal with the poison ivy of our sin?
The Psalmist here gives us an answer- by storing your word in my heart. John Bunyan rightly observes, “this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” God’s Word is the only means through which we are preserved from sinning and going against God. Notice how he uses the word; he stores it in his heart. Charles Bridges notes that he hides not for concealment but for security that it may be ready for constant use. By doing this we “keep our hearts with all vigilance” (Proverbs 4:23). Practically speaking, hiding means memorization and meditation of the word. If we will be helped to fight our sins and overcome temptations, we will have to memorize and meditate on God’s Word. For this reason, we have to recover the art of Bible-verse memorization. The Word of God hidden in our hearts is the sword that we use to slay and overcome our enemies; the world, our flesh, and the devil.
God’s Word is sufficient to keep our lives pure from the polluting effects of sin. It is powerful enough to keep us from wandering from God’s way. It’s enough to repel sin and help us pursue God. Because of this sufficiency, we are to meditate on it, live on it as the only standard, and keep a remembrance of it. Therefore, may we make the Bible our delight for through it, God arms us against temptations.