How Can We Remain Pure?

Monday, January 27, 2014, 9:09 a.m. – On my way to have my quiet time with my Lord Jesus this morning, he put the song “Courageous” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:9-16 (ESV):

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

The Purity Challenge

This question posed of the psalmist in verse 9 comes across my mind often. “Why?” you might ask. It seems to me that these days no matter where you go that you are bombarded with sexual images – in the grocery store checkout line, in store windows, in most all internet sites, including social media sites, some “Christian” sites, news sites, and even ones promoting “Christian” song lyrics. Some of those even advertise porn sites. I forget which ones. When we had a TV, I even had to stop listening to (viewing) a “Christian” music channel because the images of the “Christian” artists were often in seductive poses or with sensual looks in their faces, or they were improperly dressed so as to attract the eye to particular body parts. If you are a TV watcher, which I am not, these “images” are in most commercials and many TV shows. If not outright, then they are often hinted at or there are sexually suggestive comments made or sexual situations presented. Even many “Christian” films, in order to be realistic and relevant, confront the viewers with sexually suggestive material and/or sensuality. It is everywhere. So, how do we keep our way pure?

Not only that, but most American homes have at least one computer with internet access, I believe. Many have multiple desktop computers, laptops, IPads (or equivalents). Even the poorest of poor in America have multiple devices connected to the internet. As well, from what I have noticed, most Americans now also have smart phones, including each individual family member has his or her own smart phone from teenagers on up, and many children have been given IPads, too, and not all of this is monitored. Even if parents put nanny services on their children’s electronic devices, sexual images are now everywhere, even in what might be considered “innocent” sites. Soft porn can be viewed by children and teens without it ever raising a red flag. Many children are exposed to this early on through TV shows and movies, as well, and that only creates a thirst in many of them for more. And, even if the device is nanny protected, there are back doors to sites that are not picked up by the nanny service; or children and teens, who know their way around these devices better than many of us adults, find their way around the “nannies”, and they probably have friends who can help them find their way around, too. So, how do we keep our way pure?

By Guarding It

The scriptural answer to that question of how we can keep our way pure is by guarding it according to the word of God (word of truth). So, how do we do that? Can we do that if we just spend 5-10 minutes a day in having devotions? - Probably not. Can we do it if we go to Sunday school classes or Bible Study or small groups and attend Church services, sing in the praise team, volunteer to lead a small group, teach a Bible study and/or volunteer our time to feed the poor and hungry? - Most likely not. Can we do that if we are in full-time Christian ministry, pastor a church or we attend Bible College or Seminary or spend hours upon hours in exhaustive Bible study? – Possibly not! Would it help if we got on Christian discussion sites and talked with other people about Bible theology and/or argued various Biblical or denominational doctrines, or even joined support groups? – Perhaps not.

Why? Because it has little to nothing to do with quantity of time spent reading, studying or discussing the Bible or even spent in Christian ministry. Some people in full-time Christian ministry are actually the most vulnerable of all, because of the trust people place in them, the pressures put on them, the long hours they work, the lack of accountability, in many cases, and because of so many opportunities for failure made available to them via ministering to people’s needs and perhaps time and location unaccounted for. In other words, those who are the most Biblically trained or the most involved in Christian ministry are just as vulnerable and susceptible to moral failure as anyone else, and perhaps more.

So, how do we guard our way and keep it pure according to the word of God? I think that James articulates the answer to this pretty well where he said in James 1:22-25 (ESV):

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

So, first of all we need to DO the word, not just study it and not just talk about it. We need to not be like the person who looks into the word, and it speaks to his heart, and it reveals to him what he or she needs to do, only to walk away and forget what he or she just learned. We need to put the word into practice in our everyday lives, and it needs to become a natural part of what we do every day, without us even having to think about it. This means we have to have hearts committed to Christ and to his ways, desirous of him, and willing to forsake our old lives of living for self and sin so that we can walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in the power and working of the Spirit within us. It also means we have to hate the sin so much that we truly want it out of our lives. If we don’t hate the sin, and we don’t have a heart change from God Almighty by his grace, through faith, that transforms us from darkness into his wonderful light, then all the best laid plans we have may not have a chance at all, because we are more likely to follow our hearts. Someone with a changed heart thus will desire to be a DOER and not a hearer only.

On that subject, I can tell you that I have attended classes in two different colleges 30 years apart from each other, and in the second college I even had a straight “A” average, and yet I can’t remember probably 98% of what I learned. Why? - Because I did not put what I learned into practice. The best thing I learned the second time around, though, was that I could learn, and to not fear learning new things, feeling or thinking as though I could not. So, it was worthwhile for me in that respect.

Learn to Say “NO!”

So, what does the word teach us about how we can remain morally pure? Several passages come to mind. The first one is Titus 2:11-12 (NIV):

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age..”

If we want to remain morally pure we have to say “NO!” to worldly passions and sexual idolatry. So, how do we say “NO”? We have to refuse to allow it to be a part of our lives. Many, many people struggle today with sexual sin because they do not guard against it, but they allow it into their eyes, minds and hearts. We can’t watch TV shows, movies or go to internet sites or watch music videos or even listen to music that promotes sensuality and sexual sin, not even a little bit! If we must go to a news site, and at the bottom or at the side are sexual images, we have to have a plan in advance for guarding our eyes and our minds against it, or we have to go to sites that do not display partial nudity or invite sexual idolatry into our lives. If we cannot control our appetite for sexual sin, then we should remove from our lives all sources for engaging in sexual sin so that we remove even the temptation, which is one of the reasons we got rid of our TV and movies 5 years ago. Consider these two passages of scripture on this subject, Matt. 18:8 and Heb. 12:1-2:

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…

I believe that many people struggle with and give in to moral failure because they don’t get serious enough with God on the issue, and they don’t DO what the word says, and they don’t get RADICAL enough about doing what it takes to truly GUARD their walks of faith according to the word of God. They deceive themselves into thinking they can take in just a little bit of “poop” in their “brownies,” and that it won’t harm them. Or, they convince themselves, even though personal history has proved differently for them time and time again, that they can handle it, and that they won’t fail “this time.” But, eventually that false sense of “I can do this” has its limitations. Failure thus becomes inevitable because the appropriate precautions have not taken place, and because the person has no plan in place to not fail. Someone once said, “If we don’t plan to succeed, we plan to fail.” This is true!

Seek The Lord

Is it possible that we can have all our plans in order for how to guard against failure, and have removed all obstacles of temptation, or so we thought, and yet still fail morally? Yes! – Most definitely! Ephesians 4 speaks to this subject, I believe, where it teaches us to put off lying, and to tell the truth, to put off stealing, and to work and to give to others, to put off the ways of the flesh and to put on Christ and his holiness in our daily lives. It is a MUST that we seek (follow, chase after) God daily with our entire minds, hearts, emotions, passions, desires, thoughts and deeds.

Ephesians 6 speaks to this subject, as well, where it reminds us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of darkness, and so daily we must put on faith, truth, the word of God (be DOERS), righteousness, and what Christ did for us on the cross in delivering us from slavery to sin, and we must GO purposefully into the world with the intent of sharing the gospel of salvation. This is the way we truly store up the WORD in our hearts, because we activate it in our daily living. And, if we do these things, we will not wander from Christ’s teachings, because we will be FIXING our eyes, thoughts, attitudes, mind and behaviors on God’s ways.

Courageous! / An Original Work / December 24, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

*I highly recommend the book “Purity Principle” by Randy Alcorn – It is a short little book on purity that I believe everyone should read: