“Keep back your servant also from willful sins; let them not have dominion over me!” Psalm 19:13
Such was the prayer of “the man after God’s own heart.” Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, “Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin!”
Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put a bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What grievous sins might the best of us do–if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace!
The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin–that which is done with deliberation and willfulness. Even the holiest people need to be kept back from the vilest transgressions! It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning the saints against the most loathsome sins: “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5. What! do saints need warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do! The whitest robes, unless their purity is preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots.
Experienced Christian, do no boast in your experience; you will yet trip–if you look away from Him who is able to keep you from falling. You whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never fall!” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.” There is enough tinder in the heart of the holiest of men, to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest Hell–unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing incest? Hazael said, “Is your servant a dog–that he should do this monstrous thing?” and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May divine wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence!
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool!” Proverbs 28:26