“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” ~Psalm 119:9 (ESV)
The focus verse above speaks of guarding our way. People often use the term "guard your heart" as a protective or defense mechanism, but this guarding of our way is really more of an offensive strategy. We know that out of our heart flows the issues of life, so guarding our way begins with guarding our heart. Once again, not in a defensive way, but in taking offensive, precautionary action to align our ways with God's.
We guard our hearts by putting on the breastplate of righteousness. This involves practically using the Grace of God and the power of Holy Spirit to align our thoughts, words, and actions with God’s Word. When we guard our hearts in this way, our heart is transformed and everything we do in life, words, thoughts, and actions, begins to follow the path of purity.
So what is my personal strategy for staying pure and guarding my heart? I asked God for an acrostic to share that would be easy for someone reading this to remember, but instead He gave me the common acronym, “APR.”
APR stands for Avoid, Pray, and Resist.
I always try to avoid situations that would cause me to be tempted. I am not a gossip, but it is very easy for even the strongest Believer to get caught off guard and fall into gossip. Prov. 20:19 NIV says, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” So I try to avoid people and situations that I know will make me susceptible to gossip. Many singles, as I have, struggle with fornication. 1Cor. 6:13b KJV says, “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” Therefore, I don’t date often, I take my children almost everywhere I go to help keep me accountable, and I only think about marriage when I’m praying for a husband, which brings me to my thought life. 2 Corinthians 10:4&5 NKJV says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” Therefore, I avoid thinking about ungodly desires or desires that may cause me to desire sin. When unhealthy thoughts enter my mind, I combat it with the Truth of God’s word. So knowing God’s word, or carrying it with me everywhere I go is vital for me. Not that I am perfect in these area of avoidance, this is just my starting point which is why I usually end up practicing the next two points.
PRAY Truthfully and Seek God's Grace to Resist
When I am faced with temptation, I pray two things: First I tell the truth. I tell God what I’m feeling, that I am weak, and that I am tempted to sin. And Second I ask for Grace to resist. I don’t ignore the truth or try to overcome it with my own willpower. I humbly admit my weakness and seek His help.
And Finally I resist. It is impossible to go through life completely avoiding temptation, but we are promised that we can be delivered from it, or receive a way to escape. When I resist the temptations of mind, body, and heart facing me, God’s Grace is always faithful to take over.
We do ALL of this through the indwelling of God’s Spirit, and Grace based living. By His Grace to do even the above, we walk in the righteousness that makes our thoughts, words, and actions pure. We do this by submitting our words, thoughts and actions to God FIRST, and seeking His help to live according to His Word.
In the natural, the lower our APR, the faster we can find ourselves free from debt. But in the Spiritual, the higher our APR, the MORE we Avoid, Pray, and Resist, the faster we will find ourselves free from the tactics of Satan, and living a more pure life day by day!
~Pouring my life out in worship, like Costly Oil~