We often think about purity in terms of sex. Our teens experience purity classes in Sunday School or in youth group and we give our daughters purity rings. But purity is a lot more than just for youth, and a lot more than sex.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5. We are to love the Lord with our whole being – and we can’t do that if we are negligent in any area. We are to have purity of body, mind, spirit and actions. As we are the only Bible some people will ever read, we are to be mindful that any failure on our part to be pure kills our witness.
Purity of Body
Sex is the first thing we think of when we talk about purity of the body, and that is true. While we can never get our virginity back, though, if we do have sex before marriage, we need to remember that Christ can forgive us and cleanse us. We must repent, though, which means we don’t do that again. The ramifications of having sex before marriage last long after the act. Ramifications include children, marriages that are built on the wrong foundations, and in trust issues with future spouses. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 states, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Controlling our bodies in holiness and honor is not relegated to the bedroom, however. It is how we dress. It is how we walk. Girls and women, listen: we do our Christian brothers a disservice by causing them, who are attracted to us visually, by dressing provocatively. A Christian girl has no business wearing low-cut blouses or skirts that end way up above the knee. Likewise, a Christian boy has no business having ears or other body parts pierced, dressing in skin-right clothing, and going shirtless when he is around his Christian sisters.
Purity of Mind
Our minds are delicate. What we think, we do. What we think, we are. Have you ever thought so much about a particular food that you made yourself crave it? During a mission trip to Africa, the mission team started talking about American foods we missed. The consensus was we all wanted a big juicy cheeseburger. By the time the mission trip drew to a close and we were flying back home, all we could talk about was what toppings we would get on the cheeseburgers. As soon as our plane landed in Washington, DC, we found ourselves running – not to get to the gate to fly home – but to get to a hamburger restaurant on the opposite side of the airport. I have to admit, that first bite was delicious – but it also made me think that we talked our minds into that yummy cheesy goodness.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” If this means we don’t play certain video games, or watch certain television shows or movies, or hang out with certain people, so be it. We are to think pure thoughts.
We are to be set apart in our bodies and our minds. We are not to be camouflaged so that we blend in with the world, but set apart so that we look, speak and act different. “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own,” [Leviticus 20:26]. We are to be holy for our God is holy. We are to be holy not just on Sundays when we blend in with our church families but on the other days of the week, when we don’t blend in with non-Christians at school, at work, at the store, in traffic, or during trying times like dealing with bad service at a garage or on the telephone.
Purity of Spirit
We may dress to prevent our brothers from sinning. We may read the Bible and listen to Christian radio. We may even pray out loud or at the altar. But, if technology was invented to project your thoughts up on a screen on Times Square in New York or on the screen at church, would you be embarrassed?
God doesn’t want us to just go through the motions, for show. He wants us to have purity of spirit. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” wrote Matthew [5:8]. Even if thought-projecting technology doesn’t exist, Someone much more powerful can see those thoughts: God. Luke 5:22 states, “Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?”
What would you say to Jesus if He asked that of you?
Purity of Actions
The last part of purity consists of our actions. Our actions show where our allegiance lie. We can dress the part, think the part, and love God fully, but if we don’t show others the love of Christ, what good is our religion? It’s just religion at that point – not a pure, Christ-centered relationship that drives us to love others as Christ as loved us.
Peter wrote, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” [1 Peter 1:13-16].
Likewise, James wrote, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead,” [2:14-17]. We are to be pure in our actions by serving God as we serve others.
God did not make us or save us to be comfortable on our pews, but to be pure in body, mind, spirit and actions – to serve Him, to share Him, and to live our lives as living testimonies to His saving grace.
(c) 2015 Terrie McKee
This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services, including those available on Amazon.com, as Near Your Altar is a participating member in the Amazon Affiliate Program in addition to other retail affiliates. These affiliate links help provide for this website as well as a small income to my family and I. Please consider clicking on the links to purchase or to browse the affiliate's website, which will open in a new window. We thank you for your support. ~ Terrie
Read Disclosure Policy here