“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
Dr. Judith Reisman is President of The Institute for Media Education. As a scientist, researcher, and educator, Dr. Reisman is sought worldwide to speak, lecture, testify, and counsel individuals, organizations, professionals and government agencies regarding fraudulent sex science, sex education, and the power and effect of images and the media to alter human behavior. The focus of her work has been—and continues to be—the negative influence of these factors on children and society.
Her extensive research has led her to the conclusion that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between pornography and rape. She cites numerous studies and quotes many experts, all leading to that same conclusion. She does not say that everyone who indulges in pornography will become a rapist. She does show quite convincingly, however, that putting pornographic images and thoughts into a man’s mind can, over time, pre-dispose that man to acting out the fantasies represented by those images and thoughts.
This is a perfect example, though certainly a dark one, of the principle:
Our thoughts determine our actions.
Most high-stakes crimes—robbery, murder, organized crime—are not committed on the spur of the moment. Criminal action is the result of much thinking, planning, and organizing. If those criminals, instead of spending all that time thinking about committing crime, had spent that same time focusing on wholesome and productive activities, those crimes simply would not have been committed.
The things that we think about and focus our attention on, will find expression in our actions and behaviors. Our thoughts determine our actions.
So it seems logical that the way to avoid negative, unhealthy, unwholesome, sinful behaviors is to think positive, healthy, wholesome thoughts, and to avoid negative, unhealthy, unwholesome thoughts. Because the thoughts we put into our minds and hearts, will find expression in our actions and behaviors.
It’s no wonder, then, that the Psalmist wrote these words in Psalm 119:11: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.“ Living a life that is free from sin is what each of us, as Christians, strives for every day (or should strive for every day). I mean, if I could master the art of NOT SINNING, my life would be infinitely more fulfilling.
I understand that none of us is sinless. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) I understand that. But, shouldn’t that still be something that we reach for, that we strive for—to live sinless lives?
That was the goal of the Psalmist, to not sin against God. And what did he say was the key? “I have hidden your word in my heart.” When we put God’s word in our hearts on a regular, consistent basis, we have a much better chance of winning the battle when Satan comes at us with temptation. We have a much better chance of not sinning.
In Matthew 4, when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, do you remember how Jesus responded to each temptation? He quoted Scripture! God’s word was in His heart, and He used that to fight temptation.
Our thoughts determine our actions. And if we base our thoughts on God’s word, then His word becomes a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). His word literally changes the direction of our lives.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Play Hide & Seek, by Rasmus Andersson (Flickr). Creative Commons License. Used by permission. Image was cropped and resized.