Don't let me stray
But all temptations are intended to lead us to forget, ignore or drift away from the will of God. Sins of ignorance are sins committed unintentionally. These sins have the effect of causing us to drift farther and farther away from God and his will for our lives. Ever so gradually, we bend and twist the will of God to allow for our sinful behavior. We make excuses for sinful activity as if God should understand that his commands don’t apply to us. We sure can point out the sins of others and somehow remain blameless in our own eyes!
“Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
So, how can a young man keep his way pure? It is more difficult for your children than it was for mine. When I was raising my family, the values taught in the home were similar to the values taught by the general public. We didn’t have to deal with gender identity issues. We didn’t have to deal with video games with real life looking characters that blow people up with blood splattering everywhere or language that can even make a sailor blush. We didn’t have to deal with gunmen in school hallways. We didn’t worry about bullying laws. There was no need for children to have phones with them wherever they went. I think life was easier for them and for parents.
Life has changed. And, in my opinion, it is not getting better. So the question becomes even more important with each new generation:
How can a young man keep his way pure?
Be on guard against sin
Be thankful for God’s grace
It is easy to let down our guard. You live in a relatively safe community. You send your children to relatively safe schools. You see your children before and after school and have opportunities to talk to them about the things going on in their lives. But what you don’t know is what they don’t tell you. They don’t always tell you about the things that were said or done at school because they don’t want to be a snitch. For instance, they don’t come home from school and say, “Today was a busy day for Satan. He laid all kinds of traps in my way to try to lead me into sin.” Sometimes the children are not even aware of the danger they face to their soul.
What we do know is that the temptations the children face are no different than those we face. Sure, sins can have different names. But all temptations are intended to lead us to forget, ignore or drift away from the will of God. Sins of ignorance are sins committed unintentionally. These sins have the effect of causing us to drift farther and farther away from God and his will for our lives. Ever so gradually, we bend and twist the will of God to allow for our sinful behavior. We make excuses for sinful activity as if God should understand that his commands don’t apply to us. We sure can point out the sins of others and somehow remain blameless in our own eyes!
Here is what happens when we let down our guard and allow sin to have its way in our lives. We wake up one day and realize that we have made a mess of our lives and we don’t know what to do to repair the damage. There is no way for us to justify our lives. It is only then that our ears are open to the message of Christ and his forgiving grace. Jesus is the only one who can cleanse us from our sins. The Bible says that the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. If you want to keep your ways pure, it has to be by keeping your eyes on Christ.
With your eyes focused on Christ, you can say with the psalmist: “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” At the end of the day to be on guard against sin is a matter of the heart. If the heart isn’t in the chase for the Lord, you won’t be either. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” There is no other way to stay close to your Savior than to stay busy striving to get to know him better. St. Paul put it this way: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering becoming like him in his death and so somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead.” That is how a young man or old man, a young lady or a sweet grandmother can keep his way pure.
Reckless living has got to come to an end! Racing through life ignoring the will of God only breeds heartache and pain in our lives. Parents, your children need you to guide their lives with the Word of God. Did you pay attention to the Word of God from 2 Timothy? St. Paul said, the Word of God is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good deed.” Use the Word of God as you raise your children. Rebuke them when they sin. Correct their behavior. Train them how to live as God’s children. That’s how you can help a young man keep his way pure.
Dear friends, be thankful for God’s grace. Thankfulness is a way of life. The child of God who is thankful for all that God has done for him will “delight in following your statutes… delight in your decrees.” Jesus fills our hearts with joy. We have a new life – an eternal life. We have hope – a living hope! We have an inheritance in heaven! The child of God knows that God has flooded his heart and mind and soul with his unconditional love. Thankful for God’s grace, the child of God loves what God loves and wants to do what God says. His love for us imparts a joy in our hearts that motivates thankful living.
The psalmist says, “With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.” There are so many synonyms for the Word of God in our text – all these words, decrees, commands, precepts and statutes apply to God’s law and gospel, the whole counsel of God. You see the truths we hold so dear in our hearts will naturally flow from our lips.
St. Paul put it this way: “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Ro 10:10). Many times, I have been privileged to hear Christians confess their faith in the words and promises of God. I have heard Christians remind me of truths they have held dear since their youth. Christians are always ready to share the good news of Christ.
All of this is very personal to the child of God (just notice how many times the psalmist says “I”). “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” There is no greater treasure to the child of God than the Words and promises of God. There is no greater joy.
“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” All of us know what it is like to receive a wonderful gift that loses its appeal with time. Not so with the Word of God! The better we get to know God’s Word, the greater the joy in our lives. Test me in this and find out if it is not true that the more you read and study the Word of God, the more you enjoy the message of Jesus Christ and his love for you.
Therefore, let this be the time that you and your family make bible study a bigger part of your life. Take the Sunday school lesson leaflets your children bring home and read them over with the family. Talk about them throughout the week and grow together to know the Word of God better. Adults go over the Sunday morning Bible Class materials in your home and you will get to know your Savior better too!
The 119th psalm is the longest psalm in the Bible. We don’t know who wrote it. But we do know that he is someone just like us. He has been touched by the love of God and knows that he has a Savior to forgive him when he sins and to guide him to live a new life of faith.
How can I keep my way pure? It is as difficult in my life as it is in yours. In fact it is impossible if it were not for God’s grace. But as we hear and learn Word of God he touches our hearts and changes our lives. It is not easy to live a Christian life in this godless world. Every one of us needs God’s law to humble the self-righteous, arrogant sinner inside of us. Every one of us needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ save us and to guide us every day. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He has exchanged places with us to take our sin away and to give us his righteousness so that God can look at us and see us as his children, holy and pure for Jesus’ sake.