The picture of a small child on the occasion of their first birthday comes to my mind. There they sit in their high chair with a cake in front of them and the parents are enjoying a laugh as they plow into the icing and smear it all over their tiny face ! From the very beginnings of life to the end we deal with filthiness. But I’m talking about more that frosting, I’m talking about sin. Such is the ugly subject the “Beth” section of Ps.119 takes up (vss.9-16): “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” And of course the answer comes immediately as the ninth verse concludes with, “by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” !!
The world seeks a different solution. Give the young man condoms, or, we can’t stop his drinking so let’s try to limit it with cute slogans and such, give out meds to stifle that anxiety and misbehavior, and on and on the faddish attempts at cleaning up our sin continue, but to no avail ! God says the key to personal purity is heeding (not just hearing) His powerful, cleansing Word !! How about your life? You get up each day and clean up physically, and well we should, but the spiritual cleansing needed is even more vital to our overall health. Don’t content yourself with just hearing what God has to say, obey it, follow through on it. That word heed was extremely common to the Old Testament era Jew. It is an action word and all too often we want God to “wash behind our ears” and just sit and soak while He says we have a role to play – “scrub under those fingernails, brush those teeth well” .
So, verse eleven gives us another spiritual “bar of soap” that taps into something practical we can do: “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” A man might have a problem when a woman walks by not dressed very well to take that second look (and ladies dress modestly and so be a good neighbor to the guys). A woman may wrestle with inners desires obsessing over having more things or a different mate (and guys love your wives well). Or perhaps some other sinful habit threatens your spiritual cleanliness. Why not look up some appropriate verses on whatever struggle you’re facing and memorize them. Then when the temptation comes, quote them silently and allow the Lord to give you victory over impurity ! Jesus quoted Scripture when Satan tempted Him (Matt.4) and shows us how effective that strategy actually is.
There’s a lot in this old world to dirty you, there’s also our sinful nature that seeks to rule and have it’s filthy way played out. James said part of the essence of pure religion is “. . .to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27). When you are tempted to sin heed the Word, do whats right instead, asking for His strength to do so. If you get dirtied and sin, confess it to God and enjoy the cleansing of His forgiveness and go on clean and ready to do better ! Have a good, clean day !!!