Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
Purity is a very broad subject. When we instruct young people on purity, we most often use it in terms of sexual purity, and it certainly includes that. It is also far more far reaching than just that aspect.
Here is an excerpt from biblestudytools.com on how purity might be defined Biblically.
The New Testament. In the New Testament, there is little emphasis on ritual purity. Rather, the focus is on moral purity or purification: chastity ( 2 Cor 11:2 ; Titus 2:5 ); innocence in one’s attitude toward members of the church ( 2 Cor 7:11 ); and moral purity or uprightness ( Php 4:8 ; 1 Tim 5:22 ; 1 Peter 3:2 ; 1 John 1:3 ). Purity is associated with understanding, patience and kindness ( 2 Cor 6:6 ); speech, life, love, and faith ( 1 Tim 4:12 ); and reverence ( 1 Peter 3:2 ).
Why the focus on young people? Don’t us old folks fail in these areas too? Well, of course we do! So, this lesson, while directed towards a young person in the developmental stages of life, also applies to all of us all of the time. It is just easier and longer lasting for some lessons to be taught and learned while a person is still teachable and able to learn. In other words, before we become heart hardened and stiff necked.
Now let’s get back to our question: How does a person stay on the path of purity? As God’s Word so often does, this question answers itself. We stay on the path of purity by living by and heeding God’s Word. That’s easy, right? How do we know this is enough? God Himself tells us of the sufficiency of His word in our daily lives.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2 Timothy 3:16,17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Here is the hard part, the bad news so to speak. God’s Word will not just leap from our unused Bible into our hearts and minds. This makes me think of the computer term, Garbage in-garbage out(GIGO). Specifically that the quality of the output is measured by the quality of the input. Note the word “input.” There will always be output, the only question what input is measuring the quality of it?
So, how do we do this?
Read it. Sounds obvious, I know; nonetheless many of us don’t do this simple thing. Perhaps we glance at it during preaching or Sunday School, but some of us never read it. Read, read, and read some more. Read it even if you don’t understand it. Later we will talk about understanding. The point is to put the Word in our minds. Something will be there, and God’s Word is the best choice.
Pray about it. Ask for understanding, and God won’t hold it against you!
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Meditate on it. I don’t mean some mantra chanting Eastern meditation here; this simply means think about it. Ponder the things you have read, at length and deeply.
Read about it. Of course, The Bible is it’s own best reference tool and commentary, and one should be careful when reading what outside sources say about it. But, even if a person never reads a commentary, the extra Biblical resources which can help are amazing. Histories, dictionaries, archaeological studies, and language and word studies are all great tools for coming to understand what God is telling us through His word.
God will help us and enable us to live lives that are pure before Him. God likely will not just deliver purity to us in a sack for us to unwrap. We have to actually take what God gives us, and apply it to our hearts and to our lives.