“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”– Psalm 119:9 (NKJV)
As the lives of men and women motor along, they can all too easily become tainted and take terrible turns when sin is indulged rather than mortified. The same is true for young men and young women. As parents seek to train and protect their young children’s purity, as they seek to teach their children how to steer clear of and to deal with the pitfalls and corruptions of sin, like us, we are wise in being mindful that the corruption of their sinful nature has been there from the beginning and the daily battle with sinful thoughts, feelings, and actions goes on, getting more and more complex as they get older.
Remember what the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to do in 2 Tim. 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” As there are many particular sins that young people are subject to, by which indulging in them defiles their way, Timothy needed to thrive in godliness, as he fled from such lusts of his youth. He needed to do this to be pure in his own walk with the Lord, as well as to be a godly example to the flock. Therefore, part of godly parenting and nurture is teaching our children how to live rightly before the Lord in doing the same. Knowing their struggles, we pray for God’s grace, that they would see, understand, and have zeal to learn the importance of their duty in pursing righteousness, and walk a penitent life before God. They need to see examples of godly living in these ways at home, at church, etc. They need to receive loving instruction as to what that looks like in the day to day. In many ways, it feels like a huge task and responsibility, doesn’t it? Yet, be encouraged. God equips you for this essential task and blesses you as you carry it out! If you have questions about what a godly example looks like in different situations you deal with, or what instruction to give in the daily details, reach out and seek help. Don’t feel like to you have to fumble along in the dark.
Psalm 119 is a wonderful psalm that teaches us to love and obey God’s law. In v. 9 (our focus text above), David’s raises his question as few young people look into how they can recover and preserve their purity. There are many poor watchmen who need to be restored to be better watchmen. Therefore, David would address and direct them to the right means. It’s one thing to sin and be blind to it, unaffected by it. When confronted, the quick response may be, “What?!? What’s the big deal?” It’s another to walk in sin and have your eyes opened to see the heinous offense against God that it is, the pollution of it, be ashamed, and have godly sorrow leading to repentance. When faced with God’s law, a young man seeing he has defiled his way and needs to get his heart renewed and life reformed is a glorious, Spirit-wrought thing. When his train of sin is stopped and he flees to Jesus – it’s those times among others that we sincerely praise and thank the Lord!
What should a young man do in pursuit of such reformation and purity? David points us the third use of the law. He says, take heed according to God’s Word. The law of God guides us in what pleases Him and directs us in walking in holiness. I pray all of the young men and young ladies reading this pay careful attention here. Young people – how can your way that has been defiled by sin be made clean? By knowing and obeying God’s Word. By guarding your way according to His commands. Don’t examine your life according to the world’s rules and then follow their recommendations or be lured to live according to no rule at all. Rather, examine and manage all that you do by what God says in the Bible. Be comforted, God the Holy Spirit works in and through His Word to recover and preserve your purity. If you’ve ever wondered or doubted whether He could or would, considering things you’ve done, have peace and confidence that He does and He will with those who are sober and watchful.
In fact, the Bible makes this guidance, direction, and cleansing very clear. When we delight in God’s law and hide it deep in our hearts, we take pleasure in doing God’s will (Psalm 40:8). Further, our ways will be clean because God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light our path (Psalm 119:105). God sanctifies us by His truth, which is by His Word (John 17:17). In doing so, the Spirit uses the work of the Word in our hearts to get more and more of sin out our lives, as He conforms us more and more to the image of Christ.
Praise God for the cleansing work of the Spirit through the Word! Young people need it. We all need it and thank God for it! Guard your life according to His Word, Beloved. Know and be controlled by God’s law in your hearts. Wonderful fruit will show forth in you to the glory of God.