How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to thy word.
With my whole heart I seek thee;
let me not wander from thy commandments!
I have laid up thy word in my heart,
that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:9-11)
The Psalmist asks this pertinent question in Psalm 119:9a. This is a question of all time significance and especially for us today as young people. Young people living in this age, the age of entertainment; and the highest paying forms of entertainment today revolve around sex and violence! In this generation that is bombarded from every side by evil and wickedness, cushioned by a lukewarm and sleeping church, patted by busy parents and the disintegration of the traditional child raising ‘village’: How can a young man keep his way pure?
To keep connotes to have, to retain and to control. How can a young man have, retain and control a pure way? The Word of God has the answer: By guarding it according to thy Word! Hallelujah. I am so glad the Lord has not left young people to grope about in darkness in matters of purity, nope. He has called us to purity and holiness and then gone ahead to show us how to live it: By guarding our ways according to His Word.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Word of God – the whole of it from Genesis through to Revelation – (and yes Leviticus is included ?? ) is our blueprint to walk in the way of purity. Thing is, this Word isn’t going to help us if it remains closed and unknown to us. Which essentially means we have to know the Word of God if we are going to use it as a guard to keep our ways pure.
For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezra 7:10)
Ezra 7: 10 guides us on. We set our hearts to study God’s Word, then we study it, then we do it and then we teach others about it and to do it! How cool is that? Who is looking for something to do? Anyone? Start by setting your heart to study God’s Word, then study it, then do it, then teach others to study and to do it! Imagine the revolution that would result if young people used their energies in this way? Not being couch potatoes watching the latest violence and sex filled movies, doing what they watch and passing the movies on to friend ???
With my whole heart I seek thee the Psalmist said, let me not wander from thy commandments. O how easy it is to wander from what we know to be true, how easy it is to wander. The hymn ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ stanza 4 comes to mind:
4. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above
Therefore we pray, Father let me not wander away from you and from your commandments. Once you are praying you realize the total dependency on God demanded and indeed expected of every young person if they are to walk in purity. Dependency on His Word, Dependency on His counsel, Dependency on His faithfulness even when we are unfaithful!
I have laid up your Word in my heart that I may not sin against you. Ezra comes back to mind, he indeed does provide for us a sterling and practical example: Set your heart to study God’s Word, then study it, then do it then teach others to do the same three point cycle. The Word of God, the Living and Active Word of God is the only power able to keep the ways of a young man pure. However this Word is not magic, it does not operate in isolation: It must become a part of the young person’s life if it is to be of any benefit to them. We must hide the Word of God in our hearts.
We are full circle now. In a world where entertainment in all its forms and measure is haggling for our time, money and attention we are called to turn away and to dig into the Word of God. To spend our bundles, our free time, our money investing in hiding the Word of God in our hearts. Download the Bile app on your phone (audio or written) and listen to it, read it. Spend time in Bible study, read Christian books (biographies especially of the Reformation days and going back are an amazing place to start), spend time discussing what you are learning from God’s Word with your friends. And most importantly do it! Do what the Word tells you to do; you will be amazed at the person you become and the influence you exert in your generation for God’s glory!
So How can a young man keep ( have, retain, control) his way pure? By guarding it according to the Word of God.
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