What does it mean to be pure in heart?
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3:13-15
I realize I may be taking this verse somewhat out of context by applying it to the subject of moral purity, however, I believe the principle applies. The advancement of technology has dramatically increased spread of immorality and pornography. The breakdown of marriages and the family unit have resulted in dysfunctional homes, abused children, rampant fornication and adultery, and total disaster of society. Clearly the moral fiber that once helped to hold society together has decayed and in it’s place a modern Sodom and Gomorrah has taken a hold.
So how do we as Christians take a stand and be different? Is it really possible? Can we really live different in a society where sex is used to sell things, undress and nudity are in every public place, and immorality is considered the norm. In fact, you are not believed if you state that you are a virgin or pure. There are many in this world who say purity is a good intention or ideal, but really can’t be done. You can’t expect youth, the time of life when passion burn the hottest, to remain pure until marriage. A hands-off policy in courtship is only an idealists dream. There are many professionals and even modern pastors who say the desires of the flesh are simply to strong to deny and you really can’t trust anyone, even your own spouse, to be genuinely true to you.
Maintaining our own purity is something that is impossible if we try to do so with our own will power. When we avail ourselves of the power of the Blood, we can be pure temples for the Holy Ghost.
Proverbs often speaks of two types of people. We have the simple one and the fool. The simple one is a young person that has never been informed and warned of the dangers and temptations of the world. He goes to town and doesn’t realize there is a harlot waiting to seduce him. The harlot doesn’t respect his soul. In the public library, at the cell phone store, in the local mall, the wicked ones lie in wait to defile his soul and destroy his life. Or the youthful lady allows herself to fantasize about an unrealistic romance that she read in a borrowed novel. On the other hand, the fool knows better. He knows the dangers and temptations that await him. He deliberately allows himself the thrill of temptation. He secretly hopes on the service call he will meet an impudent woman. She allows herself to chase after empty dreams. They enter into temptation telling themselves the pleasure will last and the end will not be bitter. He believes that he can enter in unto her and return alive. The lie they believe again and again only destroys them each time and progressively the thrill leaves and they are left bitterly destroyed. Proverbs makes it clear that he who starts down this road will not escape with his life.
So how do we protect ourselves in a society who so willingly flaunts their bodies and offers these temptations everywhere we look? First we must take the first step of completely rendering our lives to Christ. If we are not fully surrendering our will to the will of Christ, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We need to choose to daily crucify our desires. James teaches us a lot of these temptations come from our own lusts. Our own carnal desires will never die until we lay down this body of flesh. In fact, our desires can grow stronger but the fulfillment is emptier each time. Until that day, we have to daily remove ourselves and our flesh from the throne of our hearts and choose to put Christ there. In the heat of a battle or temptation, if we sincerely breathe the prayer of “Lord, remove this filthy carnal flesh from my own heart and place Your dominion there” we can find the victory by focusing on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Along with the daily removal of our flesh from the throne of our hearts, is the importance of making a daily covenant with our eyes as Job says. It is a decision we make from rising in the morning till we retire for the night. We will no allow our eyes or thoughts to wander into forbidden paths. Every fornicator or adulterer began with allowing forbidden thoughts to become fantasies. Fantasies that grew until they became realities and the terrible reaping that follows. Hand in hand with the covenant with our eyes is the bringing into captivity every thought. Our thoughts can easily degenerate into worthless fantasies. We must never allow ourselves to look on a woman to lust after her.
Another aspect that is very important is keeping bitterness out of our hearts. Esau allowed a root of bitterness to grow as he despised his brother and resulted in fornication. When bitterness takes root in a person’s heart, he often feels justified of allowing himself of some pleasure because of the great wrong that he perceives has been done to him. Individuals who allow a hurt to grow often find temptations of the flesh very appealing. If we are going to remain pure in sexual temptations, keeping bitterness out, is very important.
Another important aspect of protecting ourselves is practicing James 5:16 in a very regular and practical manner. Husbands with wives, brethren and sisters with each other respectively, confessing our faults and struggles, why? So we may be healed. We so often think that confession is only done for the large sins, but in reality this verse tells us the more open we can be with our faults and struggles is the path to finding healing and stability. As I open my heart to my brethren and tell them my faults, I find healing and strength for the journey that otherwise I feel I must travel alone. God give us hearts that are open and aid in the healing process of each other.
Another principle of maintaining our souls pure is understanding the plan that God has for our bodies. Corinthians makes it clear that food was designed for our stomach and our stomach was designed to digest food. However, God didn’t design our bodies for fornication. We were not created to fornicate and join ourselves to harlots. God created us for a temple for the Holy Ghost and give honor and glory to the Father. When we yield our thoughts and imaginations of our hearts to fleshly desires, we are defiling the very purpose of why we were created. We also need to understand that God designed our bodies with a strong desire for procreation. Is that desire sinful? No, it is for the purpose of ensuring the continuity of the human race. To protect that sanctity of life, God gave us the marriage bed and a holy way to fulfill that purpose. As a couple comes together in holy matrimony, they are only fulfilling their duty of glorifying the Father by procreating and God, in His delight, rewards them with children. Marriages who reject children or limit this blessing are rejecting the holy purpose of marriage. God’s plan is not the same for every person or couple in that he leads us down very diverse roads; however, the principles of married life and a holy way of living applies to everyone. The devil in his jealousy and his ultimate desire to destroy all purity and holiness has twisted this principle and lied to mankind. He tells us a holy, faithful marriage is bondage and children are a bother. The devil tries to deceive us into thinking that sanctified thinking is a narrow lifestyle and holy living is dry and empty. God forbid we allow ourselves to believe those lies.
Fathers, what are we doing to protect the moral integrity of our marriages and homes? Are we helping our sons and daughters through the stage of “simpleness” into wisdom avoiding the fool’s path. At a young age, molding a child’s heart into openness and a willingness to share on these subjects, is the best gift parents can give their children. Allowing them to wander and discover their own way through the ups and downs of the passions of youth can be the most devastating thing that happens to a young person. The bondage and snares they encounter because they were never warned about what to expect and ways to look for the escape. Fathers, be responsible for the kind of books that are in your home. Take action and know where your youth are in the evenings and weekends. Hold your sons accountable for the apps and text messages that are on his phone. Know what access your children have and where they use the Internet. There are many “free” sites where this ‘entertainment in movies, music videos, country, and even x-rated material are waiting to captivate your children’s hearts. For most of us, technology has become a very integral part of our lives and livelihood, but with it has also come many snares that will captivate your children’s hearts if you do not take that first step.
The Bible asks the question, When Jesus returns will he find any faith left on this earth? If each of us personally take responsibility for our own lives and for the souls that we watch for, may we be found waiting for him.
Pilgrim Witness, August 2014
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