Study 7 HOW CAN A YOUNG MAN KEEP HIS WAY PURE?
GREAT QUESTIONS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 119:9)
The answer to this important question is given in the second part of the verse – “…by living according to your word.” The Bible answers every question that is vitally important to us in this life and the life to come. Some people think the Bible is not relevant to us: for David or for Paul it was ideal in its teaching and application, and even for the Lord Jesus (the Old Testament was His Bible), but they think it is not relevant to our day. Such ideas are entirely wrong since it is the only book that speaks with authority about the great needs of time and eternity; it is the only guide to holiness, to a life that is pure, dedicated and pleasing to God. The Psalmist, who was deeply concerned about personal purity, was really saying, ‘What is the secret of personal, practical holiness?’
- 1. In Psalm 51:10 we read of a clean heart. But how can we have a clean heart?
- 2. In Isaiah 52:11 we learn of the importance of being clean before God can use us. But how can we be clean?
- 3. In Jeremiah 17:9 we read of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of our hearts. But how can our hearts be cleansed and changed?
- 4. In Matthew 5:8 we read about the pure in heart. But how can we gain this purity?
- 5. In Romans 7:18-24 we have a description of a struggle that we all experience. But how can we gain the victory?
- 6. In 2 Corinthians 7:1 we read of the importance of entire cleansing. How can this be?
- 7. In 1 Timothy 5:22 we read of the importance of personal purity. But how?
This is the great question: How can I be clean? Carefully consider this:-
1. THE QUESTION THAT IS ASKED
“How can a young man keep his way pure?” Notice three things:-
- 1. It is a plain question. There is nothing ambiguous or difficult about it; it means exactly what it says. Here is a young man, with a sinful heart, an offensive life, impure thoughts, dirty habits, foul conversation, his reading matter is vile, his relationships are immoral – how can this young man become clean? That is a plain question – look up Mark 1:40-41. Whether we are young or old, we know that the question touches our deepest need.
- 2. It is a priority question. This is the chief question we need to ask. There are other important questions, especially for young men and women, such as: How can I reform my ways? – but notice the question here is: How can I keep my way pure? This is not to do with education, a career, success, marriage, security, but it does have to do with the life and heart being pure. By nature we’re sinful and we’re surrounded by evil forces. Our eyes, lips, feet, hands and ears – they all want to sin. How can I be clean?
- 3. It is a practical question. It calls for action because it is not just a theoretical question. Psalm 119:9 is not simply beautiful poetry but the inspired testimony of a man who knew his deep need of cleansing and who also knew how that need could be met.
This great question contains: (1) an admission of need; (2) a confession of desire; (3) a suggestion of urgency.
2. THE ANSWER THAT IS GIVEN
How can my heart and life be kept pure? – “by living according to your word.” Examine this sentence carefully and you will see there are three things to do:-
- 1. Stop in your tracks and give careful thought to your ways (Haggai 1:7).
- 2. Take yourself in hand. It is easy just to drift and to get more and more enmeshed in all the sordidness of sin. Do you read impure literature? Do you indulge in unclean habits? Do you foster unclean thoughts?
- 3. Apply the remedy. This simply means, take the Bible and apply it to every part of your life and conduct. That is the way to be cleaned up spiritually and morally.
But what does this mean? Psalm 119:9-16 gives us the answer. Verse 9 contains our key-verse – but the remaining verses will help us too:-
- 1. Verse 10 – Search your Bible and be ready to obey all that God commands. You will immediately begin to experience cleansing – look up John 15:3.
- 2. Verse 11. Let God’s Word enter right into you. It not only has the power to cleanse you but to keep your heart clean – look up Proverbs 4:23 to see why.
- 3. Verse 12 – Be humble, lowly and submissive. Notice the words “teach me”. You must do what Mary did (Luke 10:39) and take note of Matthew 11:29.
- 4. Verse 13 – Declare the truth of God’s Word in your daily walk and at your work. This will help you to exert a cleansing, purifying influence from day to day.
- 5. Verse 14 – Rejoice in God’s Word and treasure it above everything else. It is abiding and enduring (1 Peter l:25). Riches and possessions disappear; God’s Word abides!
- 6. Verse 15 – Learn, mark and inwardly digest God’s Word and never question what it says. To “meditate” means ‘to chew the cud’; to “respect” (KJV) means to submit to the fact that God’s will and His ways are always best.
- 7. Verse 16 – Persevere at this daily process: take His Word, apply it, obey it and make it your all-sufficient rule for faith (what you believe) and practice (what you do).
Before long you will come to Calvary, recognise why the Lord Jesus died and shed His precious blood; you will discover how to be cleansed from the guilt and penalty of your sin (1 John 1:7). But you need to know that daily cleansing through His Word, when you humbly and in repentance confess to Him and receive the assurance of His forgiveness (1 John 1:9).