Cleansing Your Life

Ps 119

Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

People can only be cleansed by doing what God’s word says – no matter how difficult, hard, painful or unpleasant it is. Cleansing is a perfect word to use here, because the Psalmist is asking how a believer can keep his life pure, holy, undefiled, uncorrupted and blameless before God and the other people in the congregation.

The phrase “young man” representatives the normal, average believer – it represents you, if you’re a Christian. The “cleansing” represents the activity and the work the average believer needs to be doing – identifying sin, confessing sin, forsaking sin, replacing that sin with godliness. This “cleansing” is present-tense;[1] it’s something that needs to be done continually, regularly, and often. 

You are never finished cleansing your life. Just as dirt begins to accumulate on the carpet as soon as you put your vacuum away, so sin begins to accumulate in your life the very moment you relax and let your internal guard down in your Christian life. You need to be on the lookout for sin, laziness, neglect and moral filth and corruption in your life on a regular, ongoing, present-tense and active basis.

In the first part of this verse, the psalmist asks a question (Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?”), and now he gives us a very simple answer:“by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

You keep your life morally pure by continually cleansing it according to God’s word. If you’re a Christian, then you belong to God and your life is not your own (cf. 1 Cor 6:19). This means that God cares what detergent you use, what vacuum you use, what kind of soap you use – in short, He cares about what method you use to cleanse your life. God says that you cleanse your life by doing what His word says.

If you don’t do what His word says . . .

  • then you don’t care about His word,
  • you don’t care about Him,
  • then you’d prefer to be disobedient,
  • and you’re in deliberate rebellion against Him

This is a very black and white statement. There are no shades of gray to be found (not even 50 of them . . .) There is a general trend in popular culture to avoid making absolute black and white statements, and many Christians have absorbed this Satanic tendency without even realizing it. We have become a culture of wimps, both inside the local church and outside. We like what God’s word says in the abstract, as long it doesn’t become personal – the same way we like the idea of exercise and good health, but shrink from ever actually doing anything to achieve it

However, when God’s word does become personal, when it stops being abstract and theoretical and becomes intimate and practical, this is when all the pious talk, the flowery prayers, and all the outward actions need to be translated into action.

Do you have the nerve, the courage and the commitment to actually cleanse yourself and your life by taking heed to God’s word day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year – or is your faith nothing but hot air?

I’m deliberately calling this trend of Christian wimpiness “satanic,” because it is intentional disobedience wrapped up in a filthy cloak of pretend righteousness. It’s cowardice. It’s rebellion. It’s pathetic. It’s blasphemous. And we are all subject to this epidemic of wimpiness and fearful compromise, because we live every day in a wimpy, fearful and compromising culture!

The psalmist tells us that a Christian continually cleanses his life by doing what God’s word says. Period. This is a black and white statement, and there is nothing we can do to change this very simple precept:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What does God’s word say to do about this problem?
  3. Why are we still talking about this?

Anything else is nothing but excuses, self-deception, and self-delusion. If you want your personal life to be cleansed and be holy, you must take heed to do what God’s word says. The same is also true for the corporate life of a local congregation:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What does God’s word say to do about this problem?
  3. Why are we still talking about this?

If you love the Lord, you’ll want to honestly demonstrate that love by doing what He says. That’s not so hard to understand, is it!?

Luke 6:45-46 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?


[1] At least, it’s present-tense in the LXX (κατορθώσει)!

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