How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (ESV)
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. (NIV)
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. (NLT)
This devotional marks the start of part three in our seven-month series on “Vices and Virtues”.
Over the next month, we are going to take a look at the important theme of Lust & Purity through the lens of scripture. Some topics in Scripture aren’t glamorous or enjoyable to hear or learn, but they are very necessary for us to study. So, over the next four weeks, we will learn how to guard our hearts according to scripture, flee from the destructiveness of lust, find newness and fullness in Christ, and fight daily to overcome the schemes of the devil.
This week's verse is a vital reminder of why we practice this discipline of memorizing scripture. Psalm 119:9 shows us that victory requires a shield, a shield of scripture. Knowing God’s word keeps our path pure. That, when we fill our minds with God’s word, we leave no room for lust.
“Guarding your purity according to scripture”
Purity is likened to a path, and we need the word as protection on every side. Going before us, behind us, and all around us. Too often, I imagine God’s word merely as a road map and not as a love letter. But the Bible doesn’t only instruct us on how to overcome sin; it in and of itself is also the better thing. Just six verses following Psalm 119:9, the Psalmist writes, “I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.” In the face of temptation or worldly desire, our response can be, “God’s word is better.” It’s a love letter to us from the creator of the universe, and in it, we can find fullness of joy, lasting satisfaction, eternal pleasure, and abounding hope.
Old ways trap us in old lies.
Here’s the truth: sin will satisfy you. It will. But only for a moment, and then it will take everything from you.
The only reason we choose sin is because we believe, for a moment, that it’s what we want. It feels right for a moment, and then it feels so wrong. We think, “This time, I’ll actually find what I’m looking for,” “I’ll just do it one more time,” or we might even believe that God is actually keeping something good from us. Each time, we are taken further than we want to go. These are all pre-sin thoughts we have when we are being enticed to do the very thing we know we shouldn’t do. The “post-sin” thought, although, seem very different. This is when the devil will double down on us, he already succeeded in sugarcoating sin and getting us to fall, and now he will do all he can to make us distance ourselves from our savior. He tells us that we are insignificant, unworthy, disgusting, pathetic, hypocrites, alone, and unforgiven, all things that used to be true of us before Christ but are now deceitful lies from the enemy because we have become a new creation through Jesus. Ultimately, Pre-sin and post-sin temptation will always be this: lies. Lies that God isn’t enough.
This is where the word of God comes in. Our greatest weapon in the face of lies and temptation isn’t even a weapon at all, it’s a shield, a shield of truth and salvation. It reminds us that God is more than enough and that through Jesus, we are righteous and even called “good and faithful.” This is why the Psalmist commands us to know God’s word, guard our hearts with it., and ultimately live by it.
You can’t conquer what you entertain.
Lies that lead you to lust will always be there, but if you entertain them, they will always take you further than you ever thought possible.
As children or young adults, we see the brokenness around us so vividly, and we think, “That will never be me; that “one thing” is something I’ll never ever do.” Whatever that “one” thing for you is, it’s not something anyone just woke up one day and decided to do. People don’t make the worst decisions of their lives when they are on the path of purity, those decisions are made from many small compromises and entertained thoughts that lead them to places they never thought they would go. “The worst decision of your life” is not avoided by thinking it will never be you; it’s by knowing it could be you and doing everything in your power to stay as far away from that thing as possible.
You may be reading this, having just made that decision, you’ve done that one thing you never thought you would do and wandered off the path of purity onto the path of destruction. For others, you’re realizing that you are much closer to that pitfall than you realized. Or, for the rest, you need to be reminded that the path of purity is small. The way to destruction is wide, and it’s stepped out by small compromises. Wherever you find yourself today, whether walking in sin, walking towards sin, or faithfully walking in purity, I want you to know one thing. And that one thing isn’t a thing at all, it’s a person whose name is Jesus. He died for the worst part of you and rose again so you could have abundant life in Him.
The call is for you to know Jesus so well that you know that He wants the very best for you and will never keep good from you! Temptation is lies; guard yourself with the truth of God’s word.- Hold your ground by filling your mind with God’s word and living by it, leaving no room for lust and lies.
Written by Blake Stanley
Psalm 1 shows sin creeping in like a progression of someone walking, standing, and sitting. We first walk by sin and take notice of it; we then stop and stand, taking it in, then we sit down in the company of sin. But the counter to this is to be planted in the word of Christ, not wandering around lost in sin. Let the word guard you so you don’t trust in your own strength and self-control but in the wisdom of God.
Meditate on Psalm 1 below…
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.