9 How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord ;
teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.
Holiness is the goal, but how does someone get there who is young and impressionable? Obey the Word of God. According to the Psalmist, this is the key. I suppose this works for old and slightly less impressionable people, too.
(I think the rest of this passage is the Psalmist expressing what he has done and is doing to obey the Word of God so that he remains pure himself. I’m going to consider these statements as they relate to my journey of obedience, doing so in the form of questions.)
How hard do I try to find God? What level of effort have I put into following His commands as compared to the effort I put into other things?
Have I hidden God’s Word in my heart — committed it to memory — and do I use that embedded truth to keep myself out of sin when temptation comes my way? Or do I let other voices speak more loudly — voices that excuse my disobedience? Voices that encourage my rebellion?
When I praise God, do I do it because it is a pleasant experience for me or because I am giving Him what is due no matter how it feels? Do I worship with expectation that He will be present to comfort and caress my soul or that He will be present to discipline and instruct?
Have I built into my living the space necessary to develop habits of things like recitation of Scripture or other rituals that give honor to the Word of God, especially His law?
Do I rejoice in the laws of God in a way that is anywhere comparable to the way I rejoice in His provision of “stuff”? Do I deeply experience the benefits of God’s discipline? Do I rejoice in the grace that is the law?
How committed am I to the study of God’s Word? How often do other things crowd out my time of attentive listening to and learning from the Word? Do I let God’s truth sink down deep into my soul where it can transform me from the inside out?
What does it look like to delight in God’s decrees? Would anyone ever describe me as one who delights in God’s discipline and direction? Or do I too easily forget God’s law, distracted by other things?