Psalm 119:1-88: How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Psalms, and in the Bible. It is 176 verse recounting the glories of the word of God. Each line is filled with sweet and deep truths about God’s word, and picking just one to write about is not any easy task. However, today I want to highlight verse 9:

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.

Christians love the word purity. We closely associate the word with sexuality. When someone is sleeping around or looking at porn, they are said to be not “committed to purity”, while someone who abstains from those things is said to value “purity.” This is not a bad way to think about sexuality. It’s important to commit to treating our bodies and emotions the way that God desires us to. But Psalm 119 is not simply talking about sexual purity. The Psalmist here is talking about sin as opposed to righteousness. One who’s way is pure is one who is righteous. And, according to this verse, the way to keep one’s way pure is to guard it with the word of God.

To guard our way with the word means to become saturated in Scripture. It is our guard against temptation and it is our promise of reward in Christ. When we struggle with sin, the answer is not a 3 step program, or increased accountability. The answer is the living and active word of God. The best example of this is in Matthew 4 when Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness. Satan tempts Him three different times, and each time, Jesus battled these temptations with direct quotes from Scripture. Jesus had “stored up” God’s word in His heart so that it might be guard to Him in times of testing (Psalm 119:11).

In order to follow Jesus’ example in this, we need to be filled with God’s word. That is the only safeguard against the temptations that this world bring. This is the reason why Ephesians 6 calls the Bible “the Sword of the Spirit”. It is a weapon that is there for us to use against the attacks of the enemy. And it is a perfect weapon, able to withstand the most brutal assaults and keep our souls from being lured back into the life out of which Christ has called us. Let us rest in God’s word. It is powerful enough to guard us. And God promises that it will.

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