How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.

Psalm 119:9

How can a young [wo]man keep his [her] way pure? Is this not the question weighing on all our hearts? This is what so many of us long for – the knowledge to keep our ways pure. In our frantic search for this knowledge, we grasp at whatever “pearls of wisdom” come our way, absorbing anything that gets through the overly-porous filters of our mind. But how are we defining “wisdom?” Pearls of wisdom from the world are empty words of sheer folly in the end. But the wisdom that comes from God is true, trustworthy, and sure. How can we keep our ways pure? Not by clinging to the wisdom of man, but rather, by storing up His Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

Psalm 119 is commonly known as “the longest chapter of the Bible.” But it’s much more than simply that. Out of the 176 verses that make up this Psalm, 169 of them refer to the Word of God (“your precepts,” “your statutes,” “your commandments,” “your rules,” “your word,” “your law,” “your promise,” “your testimonies,” “your ways” – and yes, I counted). That’s 96% of “the longest chapter in the Bible.”

This is not an unintentional coincidence or a purposeless, recurring theme. We know every word of Scripture is purposed and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So what could be the reason for this repetitive reference to the Word of God in the Word of God?

Is it possible that we, as modern-day believers, lack an understanding of the importance and value of God’s Word? Is it possible that we fail to appreciate the privilege of delving into His Word? Is it possible that in the middle of our high-tech, fast-paced society, we view “hiding Scripture in our hearts” as an archaic, outdated, unnecessary expression of faith?

Yes. It’s more than possible; it’s the reality we live in today.

Psalm 119:9 begs for an answer to one of the deepest questions of our hearts: Oh Lord, how can we keep our ways pure? It is the longing of our hearts to know how to please You! How can we walk in Your ways when we are so… human? So flawed! When the core of our beings are so hell-bent on evil and selfishness! In the midst of our shortcomings, how can we live lives that are pleasing to You?

The answer, only a line away: “By guarding it according to Your word.”

There we have it. Open-and-shut case, right?

Far from it, dear friends. The answer is simple and clear before us, but sadly, the application of the answer is often not. And why is that? Why is the application further from our grasp? It ought not be. But so often it is.

Is it possible that because of our lack of understanding of the importance and value of God’s Word, we also lack the ability of applying His Word to our lives? It is possible that because of our failure to appreciate the privilege of delving into His Word, we also fail to live our lives in accordance to It? Is it possible that because we have Google and the Bible app at our fingertips, “hiding Scripture in our hearts” is no longer a necessity?

Yes. It’s more than possible; it’s the reality we live in today.

Repetition is not purposeless. Recurrent themes are not coincidence. 96% of “the longest chapter of the Bible” is not insignificant.

The Word of God is vital to every believer, in every way, in every time, in every place. There is not an age that will render the Word of God “irrelevant.” There is not a situation in life that will find the Word of God “inapplicable.” In all things, in all ways, at all times, in every place, the Word of God is of paramount importance. The Word of God is absolute. It is our Joy. It is our Hope. It is our Life. And as such, we must bind It to our hearts.

Just as quotes and song lyrics dance around in our mind, should not the Word of God take up residence there? Should we not clear away the clutter of our hearts and minds in order to make room for His Word to take root? Are we not to proclaim His truths, His promises, His Word? Are we not to refresh the saints with the words of Christ? Are we not to encourage one another, challenge one another, lovingly admonish one another according to the Word of God? How can we do this if we don’t meditate on His Word and bind it to our hearts? How can we know which way is the right way if we don’t look to The Way laid out in the Word? How can we guard our ways according to His Word if we do not have His Word written on our hearts? What will we guard our way by then? By the words of this world? By the wisdom of man?

Friends, the Word of God must be engraved into our hearts and minds. That’s the only way we will know how to live a life pleasing to Him. If we don’t study the Word, how can we know what He delights in? Scripture is a window into the heart of God. He makes It freely accessible to us. He gives us His Word and He equips us with the ability to understand It. But if we never take the time to sit in His presence, what good will it do?

Memorize Scripture. Apply Scripture. Take a chisel to your heart and etch His words on its every surface. It’s not an archaic expression of faith, but rather, an act motivated by love for the Lord and a desire to please Him in every way. In doing so, we will be filled with the knowledge and discernment necessary to live lives pleasing to Him.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

How can we keep our ways pure? By guarding it according to His Word.

Pick up that chisel. It’s time to get to work.

My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.

Psalm 119:20

2 thoughts on “How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

    1. Yes, exactly – there really is NO secret! The Lord graciously makes Himself & His desires known to us. We just have to take the time to study His Word & seek His will. Thanks for taking the time to read & comment, Mercy! 🙂

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