“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.”
This isn’t just about sexual purity. To be pure is to be unpolluted and unmixed with the world. It is to be different from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. It is to be wholesome spiritually, genuine in faith and practice. No pretense. No façade.
It is to come out from the world and to be separate. It is to not be like the ungodly in the things that they do, believe, hold on to, and value, etc. It is to not take on their character, attitudes, philosophies, and way of thinking and believing. And, it is to not mimic their behaviors.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t associate with the people of the world. We do. For, we are to love the people of the world. We are just not to become like the ungodly. We are to be with them but not be of them. And, we are to shine as lights for Christ and for his gospel among them.
But the people of the world are not to be our close and intimate friends and companions, for there is no fellowship between light and darkness, and bad company corrupts good character. For, we have a tendency, as humans, to become like those with whom we most closely associate.
So, how can we be pure and remain pure? We must guard our purity according to the word of God. We must be in the word daily, studying it, taking it to heart, and then applying it to our daily walks of faith. We are not to be hearers only, but we are to be doers of the word of God.
But we can’t do this in our own flesh while still maintaining control of our own lives. Jesus must be Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we must submit to him. As we read the word of God, we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for God to speak his truths to our hearts.
But let me say this. When we believe in Jesus, we don’t lose our propensity to sin. We are delivered from our slavery to sin, and we are empowered of the Spirit of God to live righteously, but we are still capable of committing sin against God.
So, we must daily choose to follow our Lord or to yield to the flesh. Daily we die to sin and self. Daily we put on the armor of God. Daily we, by the Spirit, put the misdeeds of the flesh to death and we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 6:10-20).
So, we can’t just pray and ask the Lord to help us not wander from his commandments or to not commit sin. We must put up roadblocks to sin in our lives. We must cut out of our lives those things which tempt us, and which lead us into sin. We must not be stupid! Or, we will fail eventually.
Just reading the Bible and praying, or just listening to or memorizing Scripture is not going to keep us from sinning against God. Storing up the word in our hearts is putting it into practice in our daily lives. It is living the word, not just reading it. It is saying “no” to the flesh and “yes” to God every day.
“Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.”
We are to be those who not only read the word of God, and who obey it, but we are to be those who are sharing it with others so that they can be saved from their sins and/or so that they can grow in their walks of faith with Jesus Christ.
If we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, it should be natural for us to want to talk about him to others. We should want to share with others what we are learning, and to share with them what a difference what we are learning is making in our own lives.
The Word of God is the bread of life to us, which we are to take in as our daily spiritual bread, but which we are also to live out and give out to others.
Our personal and private times of Bible study and prayer with our Lord should be our main source for learning and growing in our faith. For, this is when we get intimate with God, alone with him, away from the distractions of the world, to where we can truly sit at his feet and listen to him speak.
But we also need to hear others who are godly, and who are walking with the Lord in purity, share with us what they are learning from the Lord, too. This is how the body of Christ is supposed to operate. We are supposed to encourage one another. We are to speak to one another and build one another up in our most holy faith.
“I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.”
Now here is the crux of it all. We must fix our eyes and our thoughts and our feelings and our character and our will on Jesus. Everything about us and about our lives is to be focused on him and on his divine character and will for our lives and on the teachings of his word.
If our minds and our hearts are focused elsewhere, we are not going to get much out of our personal times of worship with our Lord. If we are not focused on him at all, we are just going through the motions and it accomplishes nothing, other than God’s word will never return empty.
Ah, and here is the clincher, too. We must not forget the word of God. We must not read it and then walk away and forget what we read so that we never apply its truths to our hearts and lives. We must be those who listen, and who immediately apply what we learned to our lives, and who continually practice what we learned, too.
But, again, we can’t do this alone. We can’t do this in our flesh. The Holy Spirit of God must be the one teaching and guiding us, and we must follow our Lord in his power and strength. If we want to live pure lives, we must have our dependency in our Lord, and in him alone, and we must rely on him for our strength, counsel, and support.
Be with Me, Lord
By Thomas O Chisholm
Be with me, Lord – I cannot live without THEE,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need THY strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev’rywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me Lord! No other gift or blessing
THOU COULDST bestow could with this one compare –
A constant sense of THY abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that THOU ART near.
Be with me, Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.
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