How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:9-11).
An elderly First Nations man told his grandson: “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil and the other is Good.” The boy thought about it and asked: “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The elderly man quietly replied: “The one you feed.”
The Christian life is not a matter of right behaviour, but right desires. That is why Jesus condemned the Pharisees who honoured him with their lips while their hearts were far from him (Matthew 15:8). Everyday there is a battle going on in all of us between our sinful desires and our Godly desires. The desires we choose to feed - wins.
How can we feed our right desires?
The Psalmist responds: “By living according to God’s Word.” The Word of God reveals God and his deeds. If wefill up our minds and hearts with the Word of God, then we’re going to have a much more sensitive understanding of what God likes and what God does not like. What happens when we read and memorize God’s word and never trust it with our lives and put it to action? In his book Take and Read, Eugene Peterson quotes Julian Green, who noted:
The story of the manna gathered and set aside by the Hebrews is deeply significant. It so happened that the manna rotted when it was kept. And perhaps that means that all spiritual reading, which is not consumed – by prayer and by works – ends by causing a sort of rotting inside us. You die with a head full of fine sayings and a perfectly empty heart.Look at Jesus.
How did he resist the temptations of the devil in the wilderness? Wasn’t it through his knowledge of the Scripture? Jesus quoted a Scripture by saying, ‘It is written…’ every time he was tempted. The Apostle Paul stressed that the Word of God is the ‘sword of the Spirit’ that enables us to fight back against temptation (Ephesians 6:17).
When we hide the Word of God in our hearts and trust it with our lives, we are in fact hiding Jesus in our hearts and trusting him with our lives. So the more our minds and our hearts consume the Word of God, the more we will be aware of Jesus and his works, the more we will acknowledge his presence in our daily realities and the more we will avoid sin that displeases him. And even when we fall into sin we will always find our way back through Jesus.
So, are you feeding your right desires?
May we feed our Godly desires daily by consuming the Word of God. And may we say confidently with the Psalmist, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”