How can a young man keep his way pure?
To their own detriment, many believe that Christ has saved them from the penalty of sin while their lives give evidence that they are yet still enslaved to that sin. They trust that God has sent His Son to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), but fail to realize the very implication of that said destruction. If Christ has come to destroy the works of the devil (and He most certainly has) then why is it that those who claim to be saved are still victims of the very thing they believe Christ has destroyed? There can only be two explanations for this. 1. The person is not, nor have they ever been, a Christian. They have professed faith in Christ, and that profession (to declare something falsely) is proven by a lack of holiness. Christ indeed has come to destroy the works of the devil (sin) but the unsaved person has no part in the victory of Christ. And we know that by their fruit.
The other reason why a person may believe that Christ has come to destroy the works of the devil yet still be ensnared by the very thing Christ has come to destroy is because they haven’t submitted themselves to constant prayer and reading of Scripture. They have not tapped into the very food that the spirit man needs to survive. It’s like the person who says he wants to be an Olympic Gold Medalist one day, yet never practices or works out or disciplines his body for the rigors of the competition. So when the day comes to qualify he finds himself disqualified, having never prepared himself. Such is the person who says they want Christ, they need Christ that they believe He has rescued them from the penalty of sin, yet they are still ensnared to their sin. God’s word gives us clarification on this:
“For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for a lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Proverbs 5:21-23
The path a man takes in life is considered by the Lord, it is before the Lord’s eyes and He doesn’t miss a thing. The bible tells us that the Lord ponders (to think about something carefully for a period of time) what we do. Meaning the sinner is given time to repent or be ensnared by their own sin. The Lord in His patience and great mercy delays judgment. This is nothing new, He has always done this:
“But if you have not done so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23
God has always pondered the lives of men having much patience with them (knowing exactly what they were going to do) yet still having mercy and not judging them immediately. He allows them to pursue the inclinations of their heart. For more information on that you can check out Psalm 7:15-16; Psalm 57:6; Proverbs 1:17-18; Galatians 6:7-8.
God not only ponders the ways of the wicked but He also ponders the ways of the righteous. And according to the word of God we are to ponder the word of God for instruction on how to walk this Christian life:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9
This simple sentence holds the key to a living the abundant life that Christ came to give us! Jesus said:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
How does a man live a life in abundance? Now keep in mind that we are not talking about living with an abundance of money and earthly treasures. You will not find that false message here. Because that’s not the message that Christ came to preach. You will however find that lie in the majority of Christians Churches in your area. Just to say that breaks my heart beyond words…..but I digress.
The abundant life Christ refers to is the life free from the bondage of sin, the life free to pursue the righteousness of God. The person who has an abundant life is the person who understands that his sinful thinking does not lead to anything but death. The person who lives an abundant life has realized, by God’s grace that truth, direction, instruction and wisdom come from the word of God alone. The person, who is living the abundant life, though they may be poor, crazy, and weird in the eyes of the world, he/she ardently strives to keep the commandments of Scripture because in them he finds his strength, peace, and joy.
The person living an abundant life lives Sola Scriptura, although they may not even know what it means.
The abundant life person is the one that purifies himself as He (Christ) is pure (1 John 3:3). The one who is living the abundant life is the one who understands what the Apostle Paul said:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
The young man who wants to keep his way pure obeys the one thing that will always prove to be true, righteous, and good…..the word of God. Paul told the church at Philippi to continue in obedience to the divine commands Paul taught them. He wanted them to walk in increased obedience to the word of God because as they did that they would work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Was Paul calling them to pursue a salvation of works? ABSOLUTELY NOT! To do that would contradict what the entirety of Scripture teaches, that God saves men by His grace.
So what was Paul saying?
He was calling believers to the responsibility of active obedience in the process of sanctification. Exactly the opposite of the message from most so-called Christian “leaders” today. They want you have your best life now and pursue all your sinful desires and dreams now. They want you to be yourself and have your fun all the while have a form of godliness, but denying the power of God to save them from their sin. In contrast Paul wanted them to walk in the evidence of the new birth. Why? Because it is God who works in us, both to do His will (holiness) and to work for his good pleasure, which are those works we were created in Christ Jesus to do (Ephesians 2:10).
The obedience of His saints in the confirmation of the prophesy of Jeremiah:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new Spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from you flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:26-27
It’s called the new birth……