How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9 ESV)
Culturally, we attach little value to purity, particularly a young man’s purity. It is often assumed that a young man has no reason to keep himself pure. To the contrary, his popularity and acceptance often relies on his thoughtlessness, promiscuity and wild living. This thinking is common place in many circles, and sadly it has infiltrated Christian homes.
The Bible does not thread lightly on the subject of purity. It is clear reading scripture that God takes no pleasure in moral and virtuous indiscretions. He frowns upon sin, whether the sinner is a man or woman, young or old. Purity, in God’s sight, is not a practice reserved for women.
The writer of Psalm 119 begins the second stanza of the psalm with a major assumption: it is important for a young man to keep his way pure. He goes on to provide guidelines for how such a thing can be done. His answer is quite simple.
The way for a young man to remain pure is by guarding his way according to God’s Word. He must keep his thoughts hidden in the precepts of scripture. He must know what the word of God teaches, and what God requires of him. He must believe that God has given him the ability to walk according to the letters of His law. And, he must believe that in spite of what is popular, God’s way is best and true.
A young man seeking to please The Lord and to walk in purity must have an undivided desire to follow after God and to obey His commands. He must be singular-minded and devoted to His God.
As a mother of two young boys I consider it my responsibility to lead my boys into the ways of purity. This has meant selectivity in their exposure to media, the company they keep and the places we go. We prescreen movies for violence, nudity and other forms of godlessness as best as we can. Our choices have appeared drastic to some but ultimately we know why we make the decisions we do, and we acknowledge what is at stake.
It is reassuring to read this verse and be reminded that purity of mind is possible, and worth pursuing for the young boys we are raising. I guard these instructions in my heart to teach to them now and as they grow into young men. I pray for their salvation and for their hearts to desire God and seek after Him. I pray that they would love Him and find their satisfaction in His pleasure.
I also pray for steadfast hearts for them. I know the pressure they will face to throw it all out is great. I know they will be tempted beyond anything I can imagine. I know their commitment to The Lord will be tested. So while I have their full attention and their minds are fully open to what I have to teach them, I do my best to build a foundation and love for God that is so strong in their hearts that the waves of the world would not dissuade them from following God.
I sound like a broken record sometimes, but I know that every time they hear God’s Word a new layer of protection is built. So I say it.
I encourage the memorization of scripture. I sing Christian hymns at bedtime. I do these in hope that these words will become a part of their natural responses, and that in times of temptation the Spirit of God can bring His Word to their remembrance.
I do my best to model the rewards of a good marriage to them by loving their father and having fun with him.
I correct misbehavior and I pray for good conduct. I hold them accountable and I praise their good choices with words and with prayers of thanksgiving in their presence.
I forgive often, and encourage Ty to go to God when he has done something wrong. Maintaining purity in their lives is not something my sons will be able to do on their own. Nor is it something they will succeed at if they carry guilt over the sins they do commit in life. Instead I want them to know that they have in God a loving Father who is willing and ready to forgive them when they repent. He is there to embrace them and to equip them to stand strong in the future.
And I pray a lot for them. I intercede on their behalf and ask The Lord to cover them and to protect their minds.
And at the end of it all, I know the choice will be theirs to walk in purity and in obedience to God.
How do you encourage your children, particularly your sons, to walk in purity?