Psalms 119:9-16 gives the necessary steps for young people keeping their lives clean:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
The word translated “young man” can refer either to young men or women, and by extension to all of us. (If we don’t learn these lessons in youth we should learn them in maturity.) The influence of parents and mentors will have a significant impact on whether young people are able to do the following things prescribed by the psalmist for maintaining purity:
- Guarding the heart by storing up the word of God (119:9, 11). This includes not just casual reading, but deep, focused study (119:14-16). If our young people know by heart what the Bible says about the issues of life, they will remember those passages when temptations come (Genesis 39:9), and refuse to give in (Job 31:1).
- Seeking God with the whole heart (119:10), not with divided allegiance. If our young people are to remain pure, they must learn that every aspect of life is to be governed by Christ (Romans 12:1-2). If our young people are heavily involved in the work of the church, they will have invested too much into the kingdom to leave it (Matthew 6:33, 22:37).
- Developing a deep aversion to wandering from God (119:10). Teens may be tempted to wander into various kinds of sin, especially sexual sins. Faithful parents must talk frankly, lovingly, and biblically about sexuality with their growing children so that the world doesn’t lead our children’s thinking about sex. This is a Bible subject and must be taught in healthy, prudent ways as our children grow (Acts 20:27).
- Sharing the word of God (119:13). Nothing builds commitment more than sharing the gospel with non-Christians. Our children must learn that “Go ye” means “Go me” (Matthew 28:19-20). Children may not be ready to conduct Bible studies on their own yet, but they can invite their friends to services, speak a good word for the Lord, support missionaries, and help their parents facilitate Bible studies with adults.
What are you and I doing to help our young people fulfill these four biblical assignments?