I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
A little over a week into celebrating the resurrection of our Lord & Savior and it seems like every year, I marvel at the details of this story and what ends up sticking out to me. This year, I couldn’t help but ponder upon the words I read in the account found in Matthews 28:6, when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb after the Sabbath and found it empty, and an angel comforted them by saying,
“…He is not here, for He has risen, as He said”
And these words rang louder than before to me, “As He said.”
As who said? As Jesus said.
Jesus did what He told His disciples He would do. In Matthew 16:21-28, He told them of the suffering He would have to endure and how He would be killed but be raised to life on the third day. Of course, we, on this end, read that and perhaps think, “how foolish that these disciples didn’t believe or understand Him.” But remember, for them, it was happening in the moment. They were mere men who were being stretched to walk by sight in the midst of the chaos that would ensue. They didn’t know what was to come and how it would come.
While it’s easy for us to read these accounts and like to believe that we would have done differently had we been the ones walking with Jesus in person, what gives us a reality check is that we have the whole story and account in His Word and still have trouble believing and walking by faith, even after seeing all that Jesus had done.
But as we were reminded on Resurrection Sunday, the same Jesus who did as He said, continues to do what He says in His Word for those who are His. God’s Word is a treasure that allows us to stand firm in our faith because they are God’s very words. No, we may not have seen Jesus like the disciples saw Him then, but the faith we’ve been given allows us to see Him even clearer than the disciples saw Him in those moments when they walked with Him. In having the whole counsel of God’s Word today, we can hold onto what He has said.
The question now is, do we know what He has said? If we don’t, we will fall into the deception of claiming words, thoughts and promise of God that are never found in His Word. And that can yield dangerous results.
We need to be women whose hearts and minds have hidden God’s words in our hearts, not just so we won’t sin against Him, but that we would live each day with the truth and reminder that we haven’t surrendered our lives to a mindless god, but One who is a living God, everlasting and faithful to do what He has said. His words are living and active.
So, what are some things Jesus said in His Word that we can cling to?
In Him [Jesus], we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7)
The salvation we have received when we put our trust and faith in Christ means the beautiful reality that what would have presented us guilty before a Holy God, now has been fully paid for by Jesus through His death and resurrection. Now, we can approach God with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:16) because our sins have been forgiven. And through the forgiveness we’ve been given, we are free to confess when we do sin, knowing that we are not under guilt and condemnation. If we don’t remember what He said in His word regarding our forgiveness, we will continue to live under condemnation rather than the freedom granted by what Jesus has done for us. And this freedom isn’t license to keep sinning. It’s the power of grace to run away from sin and sin.
I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
I find these words to be the most comforting words for us as believers. He said it way back to Joshua in Joshua 1:5; it was again written to remind the audience in the book of Hebrews, and it holds true for us today. We know how hard it is to not believe this truth when the things going on outside of us seem out of control. But these aren’t just any words; they are covenant words given to those who have entered into a covenantal relationship with God through Jesus. We are forever bound to God through Christ and that is why Romans 8:31-35 can remind us that if God is for us, there is nothing that can come against us that would remove us from the covenant relationship we have with God because we aren’t the ones who did the work to establish it. It was Jesus. And nothing can come against Jesus. He overcame and had all things put in subjection to Him (1 Corinthians 15:27). So, sisters…He won’t leave or forsake us. He is for us. Even when we think He feels distant, before we assume it’s Him who has left us, let’s check our hearts. Let’s check the distractions that keep us from hearing Him. Let’s check our own flesh that fights against the Spirit to be found in His Word and in prayer. He is not man that He should lie.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7)
These words remind us that we have a God who understands the humanity we experience. He knows that anxiousness can rise up in us because of life’s circumstances. But He has given us a way of escape through the Peace He gives when we choose to submit our anxiousness and requests to Him in prayer. His Peace isn’t comprehendible through our own understanding. It’s a Peace that stands firm when all else is shaky. It’s a Peace that requires our willingness to surrender the answers we think we should have to our requests. It’s a Peace that trusts in the God who gives it. This Peace is Jesus. He holds us in the midst of turmoil. May we remember what He has said so that we don’t run the other way when anxiety rises. We have a God who promises to guard our hearts and minds so that our heart and mind don’t rule us.
Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of truth that God’s Word gives us that we can cling to. May we continue to search them out as we grow in our relationship with His Word so that we can know that as He said them, we will know them to be true in our lives.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Philippians 4:6-7Questions to Reflect on: