Devotion for March 20-22, 2018

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

Sometimes I worry about the water I drink. Occasionally, I’ll fill a glass of water from my sink, and the water will come out cloudy or milky. Now, I know what the experts say about that. Cloudy water doesn’t come from impurities. It’s probably tiny air bubbles being released from the water, like carbonation. But that doesn’t stop me from being freaked out. Most of the time, I’ll dump the water out and pour more, just in case.

Christians are also concerned about purity in our lives. The Psalmist begins the second section of Psalm 19 with an important question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” It’s a question that faithful Christians ask themselves, too. Because Jesus died and rose for us, we want to follow God’s will. We want to lead pure lives. My congregation sings about it every week during the offertory, “Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

“How can a young man keep his way pure?” That’s a tough question for all of us. Temptation is everywhere, threatening to make us impure. Our eyes look for sights we are not supposed to see. Our hands reach out to take things that are not ours. Our heart wants to live contrary to God’s law. Each time we fall to temptation, we add just a little impurity in our hearts.
Just a little impurity is too much. If someone puts a couple drops of arsenic in your water. You wouldn’t say to yourself, “Well it’s mostly pure. There’s only a little poison in there.” Nope. You’d say that the whole thing is poisoned. The same goes for us. It doesn’t matter how much we sin or how little, any sin makes us impure, unholy.

“How can a young man keep his way pure?” The Psalmist answers the question for us, “By guarding it according to your word.” God’s word makes us holy. We hear it when a pastor proclaims to us, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” God’s word removes any impurity through Jesus Christ.

We see it happen, when God’s word is spoken with some water poured on someone’s head. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And the water combined with the word washes away the impurities in our soul, making us perfect and holy. Creating in us a new heart and a right spirit.

And through his word, God strengthens us to live out the new heart and the right spirit he creates. By the power of the Spirit, he guides us when we hear the word proclaimed or when we read it ourselves. He fills us with the will and desire to do as he commands.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” God’s word is how God makes us pure and helps us lead pure lives. We constantly turn to him for the word that washes us clean.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Through your word you make a new heart and a right spirit in me. Cause me to attend to your word with joy that I may understand your love for me and do your will. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever. Amen