“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.” Psalm cxix.9
Purity must be one of the most important concerns of Christians, young and old. Christians who boast of being part of a better covenant than that which prevailed before the Christ event should at least share the Jewish psalmist’s desire for purity and holiness. Young men and women are thought to be buffeted by the storms within their minds and bodies – storms that threaten to drown them in an ocean of impurity and sin. The elderly are no less susceptible to temptations. Those who master the art of living a holy life at a young age will certainly have a strong foundation for the years ahead.
The question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” is not left unanswered. Without any hesitation, the psalmist shares with his readers a time-tested recipe for holy living: “By keeping Your word.” Deliberate, resolute obedience to God’s word is the secret of leading a pure life.
Young Christians might throw their hands up in desperation and ask, “How can I keep God’s Word? I don’t know what God requires of me and I do not have the strength to obey God.” The second stanza of this beautiful acrostic Hebrew poem attempts to answer these questions that our young people ask. There are no shortcuts, however. These are the things that the psalmist practised to cultivate a pure life:
b. Memorize important passages in Scripture and treasure these in your heart. “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” (v 11)
c. Keep thinking about what you read throughout the day and even while you are on your bed. “I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways.” (v 15)
d. Talk about what you learned from the Scriptures to your family, friends and colleagues. Make it a habit to recite the verses you memorized. Share God’s word with friends who haven’t heard about God or about Jesus. “With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from Your mouth.” (v 13)
e. Value God’s Word as much or even more than you value all other stuff that is precious to you. Bring your emotions to God’s Word. Delight in it and find ways to celebrate the precious lessons you learn. “I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees as much as in all riches. …I will delight in Your statutes (v 14, 16a)
f. Resolve not to forget God’s Word; do all you can to keep it fresh and alive in your mind. Read the Bible as many times you can every year. Read it or listen to it as often as you can every day. “I will not forget Your word.” (v 16b)
g. Pray for divine assistance in holy living.“I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands.” (v 10) The purpose of all the above actions is to make sure that we obey God’s Word. Obedience is impossible without God’s help. Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew xxvi:41)