Skip to main content

Purify me

Yesterday we discussed passion and purpose.  We have one more character trait to consider in our "P" List which is purity.  Now, this sometimes gets overlooked in our consideration of character traits to "put on" because we don't live in a very "pure" world, do we?  It is hard to make pure choices when all around you others are bombarding you with all kinds of wrong ones.  Purity is the freedom from anything which debases (reduces in quality or value), contaminates (adding/mixing in that which makes unclean), or pollutes (corrupts or defiles).  In the most literal sense, impurity is the "adding in" of something which does not belong.  That which does not belong actually changes the consistency or integrity of what does.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  (Matthew 5:8 MSG)

But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.  (I John 3:2-3 MSG)

Purity of heart - mind, will, and emotions untainted by that which "adds in" the things with confuse, bring conflict in our motives, or sets us up to rely upon the unreliable.  It is with pure hearts we are able to see God - for God is pure.  Children like to emulate adults, don't they?  They mimic behaviors they see in the adults they are frequently around.  The same is true of a child of God - we mimic the behaviors of the one we behold the most frequently.  If we are beholding Christ, we mimic his behaviors.  If we are beholding others who are not like Christ, we might just begin to mimic theirs.  

In essence, purity is the absence of something.  I think this is where we sometimes get it wrong, because we somehow think purity is the "adding" of something rather than allowing something to be removed.  Throughout scripture, there are portions which refer to things like the refiner's fire.  The fire of the refiner burns hot, allowing the metals to melt, bringing to the surface the things which are "contaminants" in the metals - those things which will weaken the integrity and strength of the metal.  We also see the idea of the threshing wheel - the place where the grain is turned over and over again until the grain is separated from the unusable part known as the chaff.  The chaff is blown away, the wheat remains.  There is also the idea of the winemaker observing his wine.  As the grapes are crushed, the juices are extracted, leaving behind that which will only add bitterness and impurity to the finished product.  All these speak to the idea of being free from something which contaminates, weakens, or renders less than useful. 

Purity is the absence of the "contaminating" influences which impact our choices in life.  Whenever we are faced with choices, we find ourselves "weighing" the choices.  Why?  One appears better than the other - it has some "merit" which makes us want to make one choice over the other.  When we are making choices from a pure heart, they will be wise ones.  When we have impurities in our heart (mind, will or emotions), we might just find ourselves making choices which don't produce the purest product in the end.

Purity is actually the result of several things:

- Cleansing:  We often think of cleansing as that which is accomplished through some process of scrubbing, sanitizing, or sweeping away.  God might just think of cleansing as any process which actually empties us.  Empty vessels are readied to receive something afresh.  Cleansing actually "freshens" us - readying us for the new thing God wants to do within.

- Sifting:  Mom had a sifter back in the day.  We don't so much use them today.  In fact, they are hard to find.  The purpose of the sifter was to separate.  The coarse parts were separated from the finer parts.  This is exactly how God uses this process in our lives - he separates the coarser (unwholesome) parts from the finer parts.  

- Burning:  Not too many of us want to jump at this one, because the furnace is a "hot" place.  If a farmer has a stump right in the middle of his field, he may work at removing that stump for a long time.  Digging it out may not seem practical.  Leaving it there allows for it regrow and is a hindrance to the plow.  He will often resort to burning it out.  He exposes it as much as possible and then burns it.  As the burning process occurs, the stump is "consumed".  In the consumption of the stump, it reduces in size and strength.  The fire of God's Word is kind of like this in our lives - it consumes us, reducing anything which will present a hindrance to our spiritual, emotional, or relational health.

So, as we wrap up our "P" List today, let's keep in mind passion and purpose in light of our latest trait, purity.  Purpose is the reason we exist, passion is what gives us the "umph" to fulfill our purpose, and purity is the basis by which we see God's purpose fully come alive in each and every aspect of our lives.  So, instead of resisting the cleansing, sifting, and burning in our lives, maybe we'd do well to embrace it as the means by which we come into what God fully purposes for us.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Noticed by grace

Stop and notice life around you from time to time - you might just be surprised by what you observe!
Sometimes we miss the "little things" in life. I guess I am as guilty of "glossing over" stuff as the next person. I wonder how much I really miss out on because I never stop long enough, listen close enough, or draw close enough to really "catch" what is happening? There are times when life passes us by at break-neck speed, or perhaps we are passing it by at that insane speed! Slow down, listen a little, get in touch with things and people around you. Notice stuff - it might just blow your mind!

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came fro…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…