“For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.”
To keep something is to guard it or to keep it in possession. There are some things in life that are worth keeping, and because they are valuable to you, you will do what you can to keep them or guard them. For instance, a person who has a valuable gem or coin that they want to keep will often put them in a safety deposit box to protect them from being stolen. The value of something is determined by what you are willing to do to be sure that it is kept safe.
Two times in Psalm 18, the psalmist said that he kept something. The first time is found in the verse above when he says, “For I have kept the ways of the LORD…” The ways of the LORD were so valuable to the psalmist that he was willing to depart from anything that would keep him from those ways. Your desire to walk in God’s ways and to keep them will be determined by how far you are willing to go to get away from anything or anyone who will keep you from keeping the ways of the LORD.
The second time this phrase is found is in verse 23 when he says, “…I kept myself from mine iniquity.” You will never stay away from sin if you are not willing to protect yourself from sin. You are responsible for your own actions, and how much you value the Christian life is determined by how much you are willing to fight sin. In the verses that follow, four actions reveal what it takes to keep these things.
First, you will face obstacles that you must overcome. Verse 29 talks about running through a troop and leaping over a wall. You cannot keep God’s ways and keep yourself from sin without facing obstacles. Your determination to keep the LORD’s ways will be determined by what it takes to stop you. Your love for the ways of the LORD is determined by what it will take to keep you from walking in His ways. If you are not willing to work through obstacles to keep God’s ways, you will one day find yourself leaving His ways.
Second, you will have to grow. In verse 33, the psalmist talks about climbing to high places. My friend, you must grow in the LORD if you are going to keep His ways and stay away from sin. You must never become stagnant in your walk with Christ because the minute you stop growing is the moment you start straying from the ways of Christ.
Third, you will fight battles. In verse 37, the psalmist talks about pursuing the enemy. One of the greatest mistakes many believers make is that they serve God on defense instead of serving Him on offense. If you wait for the enemy to attack you, you have already lost the battle. The believer must be proactive in fighting sin and the enemy by getting involved in their church and serving the LORD. Sitting and doing nothing in your church is simply serving God in a defensive manner; whereas, getting involved and serving the LORD in some ministry is moving forward and fighting the battles. Yes, you will fight battles, but you should fight them because you are doing something for God and not because you are sitting and doing nothing.
Fourth, you will get tired, but you can’t quit. If you are going to keep the ways of the LORD, you must determine not to quit when you get tired. Let me encourage you to never give up. You will get tired of the battles, but you must keep going until you have subdued the enemy.