Love And Purity

Thursday, December 12, 2013, 8:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Open My Heart” into my mind when I sat down to have my quiet time with him this morning. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read 1 John 3 (ESV).

As He Is Pure

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Everyone who hopes in God purifies himself as God is pure. To be pure means to not be mixed with any other substance, and to be clean and free from impurities. Impurities are substances which adulterate or contaminate something (Encarta). If something is adulterated or contaminated, it is soiled, polluted, foul, dirty, et al. The Bible lists for us many ways in which our lives can be polluted and adulterated with impurities, yet it also names several main categories which involve this mixing with other things: 1) Spiritual Adultery, 2) Idolatry, and 3) Syncretism - the mixture of beliefs or religions.

As followers of Christ, we are married to Jesus Christ. When we give our hearts, passions, desires, time, talents and loyalty and devotion to the things of this world or to the people of this world, in place of or over and above God, or when we give our time and talents to do things for God, but we withhold from him our submission and obedience to his will and to his purposes for our lives, this is spiritual adultery. We cannot be in the practice of being partakers and participators in willful sin and in the values, philosophies, and evil practices of this sinful world, which stand against God, and still abide in Christ. The two don’t mix. Also, when we chase after the pleasures of this life, self-gratification, humanistic ideologies, material possessions, fame and/or other human beings to bring us joy, peace, satisfaction and fulfillment in this life instead of looking to our Lord Jesus to meet all of our needs, this is idolatry. And, when we mix our worship of God with the worship of what is antichrist; with other humans, false doctrines and teachings, greed, or what is worldly, this is syncretism.

So, how do we purify ourselves? To purify means to cleanse, refine, decontaminate and to get rid of or to remove impurities. First of all, we must pray and ask God to show us all impurities in our lives; all idolatries or mixtures with what is worldly or pagan, and then we must be willing to part with all he puts a finger on in our lives. Then, we must yield to his Lordship over our lives and rely on his power and strength within us to reject and to rid our lives of all that is impure and to replace these with what is of God (See Eph. 4-5).

We Know Love

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

What is love? It can be many things, but when God says we should love others or love him, what does he mean? HELPS Word Studies defines the word translated as “love” this way:

With the believer, 25 /agapáō ("to love") means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (by His power and direction). True 25 /agapáō ("loving") is always defined by God – a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection" (WS, 477). 1 Jn 4:8,16,17 for example convey how loving ("preferring," 25 /agapáō) is Christ living His life through the believer.

Exactly! When God tells us to love others, he means for us to love as he loves, in his power and direction; allowing Christ Jesus to live His life through us, and to minister Christ’s love to those whom he brings into our lives. So, when we love with this kind of love, we will not be selfish, dishonest, disingenuous, purposefully hurtful, or revengeful. We will not require tit-for-tat, i.e. the repayment of a wrong (or perceived wrong) or injury suffered by inflicting equivalent harm on the doer (Source: Encarta), or require that others do for us as we have done for them. We will not tell people lies, even if we mean to encourage them through false flattery, and we will not lie to them in order to save our own skin or to try to mask our own evil intentions or motivations. And, we won’t do for them or say to them just what we think will get us liked in return, but we will always consider what is truly in their best interest and what will meet their genuine needs, but not necessarily their wants. This type of love will be willing to lay down its life, and will be prepared to be hated in return in order to demonstrate Christ’s love to others. Remember Jesus was despised, hated, rejected, mocked, accused falsely and killed because he loved people with God’s love. True love for others is sometimes “tough love.”

As well, this type of love is not talk only, but is action. If we say we love others, or we love God, but our actions speak just the opposite, by God’s standards, not by human standards, then we are just mouthing empty words. We must put our feet where our mouth is and demonstrate Christ’s love, not just by the things we say, but by the things we do.

Open My Heart / An Original Work / July 2, 2013

“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil”(Rm. 16:19b).

Open my heart. Let Your truth in.
Make of me a servant, pure within;
Sing of Your praise all of my days.
Let Your Spirit transform all my ways.
Jesus Christ died on a cross to
Save me from my sin.
“Repent of sin. Be cleansed within.
Obey all of His commands today.”

“Why do you doubt? Why do you fear?
Jesus Christ will wipe away your tears.
He cares for you. He feels your pain.
Die to sin, and life with Him you’ll gain.
Follow Him where’er He leads you.
Talk with Him each day.
Then you will know what He has planned
For your life before your world began.”

“Come unto Me, weary in heart.
Let My love and grace to you impart.
Believe in Me. Trust in My care.
Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer.
He will meet all of your needs,
And give you peace within.
Rejoice in Him! Tell of His love.
He will give you comfort from above.”