“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” Psalm 119:9-10
God’s Word reveals to us our utter sinfulness and failings. We agree with what God says in His Word and acknowledge with David: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).
We confess our sins and look to God with faith in Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for the sins of the world, and God is merciful toward us and forgives all our sins and iniquities for the sake of Christ Jesus (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2; Psalm 51:1ff.; Psalm 32:5).
But how do we now cleanse our way? How do we, as a fruit of our faith in God’s mercy and forgiveness toward us for Jesus’ sake, now live for our God and Savior and walk in a way which is pleasing to Him?
While some would direct us to look inside ourselves, to our hearts and feelings, we do not lean on our own thoughts or understanding; rather, we look to God’s Word to guide and change the thinking of our hearts.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).
We look to the Scriptures, for there God has revealed His good and perfect will for us. He has told us what He desires of us.
We pray to God: “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11); and “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way” (Psalm 119:36-37). With the psalmist we pray: “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments” (Psalm 119:10).
As the Spirit of God regenerates us and creates in us a new heart and right spirit (Psalm 51:10), we seek Him and His ways and join in praying that God would keep us from wandering outside the path of His commandments.
We pray in the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
And, of course, if we are going to walk in the way God commands, we need God’s Word in our hearts.
Consider Psalm 119:11-16: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”
And so, we trust in Christ alone for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal. As a fruit of our faith in Christ, we pray that God’s Spirit would unite our hearts to fear His name. And we look to God’s Word for guidance — studying, meditating, treasuring it in our hearts — that we might continue in the faith, walk in God’s ways, and not sin against Him.
O gracious and merciful God, we have sinned and gone astray. Forgive us for Jesus’ sake and cleanse our hearts, and teach us Your Word that we might walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]