This is not a new problem. Even as far back as Bible times there were constant temptations lurking in the dark shadows or maybe even in the broad daylight. Any unsuspecting victim could be pulled into the lair of evil if he was not careful. The Psalmist must have felt this subtle pull because he asked the same question. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” In the very next phrase he answered his own inquiry. “By keeping it according to Your word.”
Nothing has changed. The problem and the answer are still the same. Obedience to God’s word is the key to living a life that is pleasing to God – a life that is unstained from the wickedness that we encounter every day.
Fast forward a thousand years and another man gave instructions to his son in the faith about living above the shameful conditions of an ungodly generation. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy some guidelines that would serve him and us well.
Consider Paul’s instructions in 2 Timothy 2:14-26.
1. Don’t wrangle over words – False teachers like to cause divisions by starting confusing conversations that produce arguments. Fighting over unimportant details is useless and can lead to the ruin of the hearers.
2. Accurately handle the Word of Truth – Study God’s word carefully and prayerfully to understand what it is that God requires of you. Make it your goal to please God and not men.
3. Avoid worldly and empty chatter – Don’t get involved in conversations that are worthless and foolish. This type of babble and gossip will only lead to ungodliness. By participating in this type of talk some have even turned away from the truth.
4. Flee from youthful lusts – Don’t stick around if you feel the pull of temptations such as pornography, pride, impatience, greed, etc. Turn and run the other direction. Instead pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.
5. Refuse foolish and ignorant speculations – Don’t get into deep debates about things non-essential to the faith. This will only produce quarrels. God’s servants should not be quarrelsome, but instead be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, and gentle when correcting those who are held captive by Satan’s schemes.
How can a young guy or gal keep his/her way pure? The answer is in the same place it has always been for thousands of years. Read God’s word carefully, handle it correctly, and obey it consistently.
And by the way, when you are in the grocery store, don’t loiter by the magazine racks.