Keep Filling Your Tank

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | June 11, 2024

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

When I was in sixth grade, I memorized my first lengthy Bible verse. I didn’t come from a Christian home. God, church, and the Bible were foreign to me, and so was memorizing Scripture. But somehow, I took in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I can’t tell you how often these words still come to mind. Nor can I tell you how often they influence my thoughts and actions. They have guided, encouraged, and kept me from doing something stupid for most of my life. But this isn’t all that is in my tank, and I know that two verses aren’t enough to counteract everything else that is in me.

We all start memorizing from the time we are born. Sometimes on purpose. A lot we absorb along the way. In the end, it’s all in there—everything from the alphabet, colors and numbers to song lyrics, movie quotes, and four-letter words. We’re all a mixed bag inside. When the world starts swirling around us, we need the ability to hear God’s voice in the middle of the mess.

Filling our tanks by memorizing His word can unlock our hearts and redirect our steps. In Psalm 119:9-11, the Psalmist asks a fantastic question: “How can we stay pure on our path in life?” The answer is clear: “Live according to God’s word.” We need to mindfully pay attention to our memories, experiences, and encounters and make sure our tanks are filled with what will steer us well as we do. To seek Jesus with all our heart, to stay committed to the Lord’s commands, we can’t skip tucking Scripture away for rainy (and sunny) days.

Whether we like memorizing or not, or want to do it or not, we can’t deny that letting Scripture seep into our being is life-changing. How do I know? Because anything that seeps into my body, mind, and spirit has an effect. Just like your car needs fuel (not pond water, Jell-o, or AA batteries) to run, you operate best when your tank is full of the right stuff. When you keep filling your tank with God’s word, His voice has a much better chance of keeping you from sinning against Him.

Next Steps

Up for a challenge? Practice filling your tank with Psalm 119:9-11 or Proverbs 3:5-6 today. Invite a friend to memorize one of these Scripture passages with you. Then see how often God uses His word to guide your steps this week and next.