How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:9-12 ESV
How can any of us keep our way pure? We have to guard (safeguard, protect) our walks, our paths according to (in agreement with) the Word of God. So, how does that work in all practicality? For, it seems that far too many Christians (or professing Christians) are failing miserably at this.
Well, the first thing we need to do is to surrender our hearts and our lives over to Jesus Christ and to his Lordship over our lives. This is not lip service only, though. It is not wishful thinking. It is a gut wrenching humbling and sorrowful bowing of the knee to Almighty God, surrendering all to God, and subjecting ourselves to his complete control and authority over our lives.
Involved in this is the death to our old way of living for sin and self, a renewal of heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and a turnabout of mindset and of conduct that results in a walk of obedience to the Lord one day and one step at a time.
For, every day we have to resist Satan, flee temptation, say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the power of God living within us.
We have to seek God with our whole hearts, not just when it is convenient for us, or when it fits into our time schedule, or when it fits with our lifestyle. This is not something we do 5 minutes a day, in other words. We have to desire him and his Word and his will and his ways in our lives, not just emotionally, but in reality in our daily walks. For, if it is real, it will be evident. And, it has to be consistent, and habitual, and not just casual.
But, we aren’t seeking HIM with our whole hearts if we are running after the gods of this world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. If we are chasing after these, then we aren’t seeking God with our whole hearts. What we are seeking with our whole hearts, though, will also be evidenced in our lives by our regular conduct, our attitudes, our beliefs, and our character. So, if what we are seeking are the gods of this world, then what we will be producing will follow suit.
Also, we need to store up the Word of God in our hearts. And, this doesn’t mean to merely memorize scripture, either, for there we are just storing it up in our heads. Remember that Satan knows the scriptures, too, and many people have head knowledge of what God’s Word teaches, but where they fail is in applying their head knowledge to their hearts and to their lives.
So, storing up God’s Words in our hearts means we are not only taking in the Word of God each day (in context), and not only are we putting it into practice, but we are sharing it with others, too. And, it also means we are not being counterproductive by also storing up the mindset and attitudes of this world in our hearts via the media or wrong associations with people.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.
Psalm 119:21-24 ESV
Who are the insolent? They are those who are insultingly contemptuous in speech and/or in conduct. And, to be insulting is to behave with pride or arrogance. And, to be contemptuous is manifesting or expressing deep hatred for someone. It is to treat them with scorn, which means to treat them with open dislike, disrespect and disdain, to treat them as inferior.
When people treat God this way, they ignore his commands, or they find ways around them, or they act like they don’t know what to do, or as though they are some special case. And, so they have excuse after excuse after excuse for why they keep recycling the same sinful behaviors over and over again, and for why they are not living in victory over sin.
And, so they willfully and consistently, as a matter of habit, live in sin, which is a slap in the face to God, i.e. it is insulting to God and to his grace. For Jesus Christ died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, not so that we could continue in willful sin against him without guilt and without punishment (Heb. 10:29; Rom. 2:4; Isaiah 1; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, when the insolent treat others this way, they treat them as though their lives don’t matter, as though they are less than them or as though they hate and despise them, or as though they are filled with bitterness and resentment against them. For, it is not loving to willfully misuse, abuse, cheat on, lie to, or to steal from others on a consistent and habitual basis, in particular, with no signs of true repentance or of genuine change.
Yet, there are many people who do this, and sadly enough, many of them profess to be followers of Christ. And, yet they plot evil against those they profess to love, they are consistently unfaithful, they habitually lie to them, they treat them like dirt under their feet for them to walk on, and when confronted with their sin, they make excuses for why they are not free.
And, the thing of it is, even though God does rebuke them in many different ways, they still wander, and they still continue on in their sin and in their pride and arrogance, ruling their own lives, and refusing to submit themselves to the rule of our Lord Jesus. So, when they want to sin, they just put up their hand against God and against those they sin against, and they say, in essence, “Forget you, I am going to do what I want.”
The Despised and Rejected
So, those who are the object of the insolents’ scorn and derision must deal with the pain and suffering that they must endure at the hands of those who treat God and them with disdain. And, one way may be to pray for God to take it all away, and he may, but he may not. For, he promised us that if we follow him with our lives that we are going to be treated just like Jesus was treated. We will be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake if we are truly those who walk in obedience to the Lord’s Word and we love Jesus.
So, whether or not God removes the scorn and contempt from us, we need to remain faithful to our Lord in following him in his ways and in keeping his commandments. Even though the insolent may plot evil against us, i.e. even though they premeditatedly plot a sinful course which is directed against us, and even if they never repent of their sin, and they never change course, we have to remain faithful to our Lord in all ways.
And, we must forgive those who do evil against us. But, forgiveness is not carte blanche for them to continue in sin. When Jesus forgives, he says, “Go and sin no more.” And, he gives us warning after warning, and instruction after instruction in scripture regarding how we need to live, and what we must put off, and what we must put on, and he tells us plainly that if we remain on a sinful course, that heaven is not guaranteed us.
So, forgiving our enemies or those who plot evil against us, and who carry out the evil that they plotted, does not mean we then have blinders on when the sin continues. And, it doesn’t mean that we don’t speak the truth in love or that we don’t rebuke or confront wrong behavior. For, we are to rescue people from the flames, not coddle them in their sin so they go to hell.
But, we need to let them know that Jesus made the way for them to be free, and if they would just surrender their lives to him and follow him in his ways, and if they would say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to Christ and his righteousness, then they would truly be free!
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.