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Friday, April 8, 2016

Remaining means we begin and continue

Snow looks pure, does it not?  You look out over the vast expanse of that beautiful white blanket covering the earth and what does it imply by that "white color"?  Purity, right? Yet, most scientists will tell us those crystalline water particles contain dust particles as well - for the dust particle is what the snow actually forms around as the water crystallizing process begins.  Mom used to tell me we all need to eat a "peck" of dirt in our lifetime, so I guess a little dust is no big deal!  Snow is very close to distilled water. You can pretty much count on being able to melt it, using it without much concern for the content of it as long as it was close to the surface, had no visible contamination, and appeared to be pretty fresh.  Very few things in this life are as pure as snow, though, including our own soul!

How can a young person remain pure?  Only by living according to Your word.   I have pursued You with my whole heart; do not let me stray from Your commands.   Deep within me I have hidden Your word so that I will never sin against You.   You are blessed, O Eternal One; instruct me in what You require.  (Psalm 119:9-12 VOICE)

I find it interesting to consider the question our psalmist poses - "How can a young person REMAIN pure?"  He doesn't ask how one can become pure, but rather how one remains pure.  This suggests there is a purification process which is begun and must be "tended to" if he is to remain pure.  Snow is pure as it falls, but as it comes into contact with impurities in the air, especially in highly polluted areas, the original purity of the snow can be significantly impacted. If we consider this, what we go through in life has the potential of allowing impurities to get "gathered" into our lives.  Those impurities can impact us if we don't guard against them.

Purity is established the moment we say "yes" to Jesus, but as life comes our way, impurities are constantly bombarding us from every side.  It is those impurities our psalmist is asking God to give him wisdom to deal with so they don't become those things which negatively impact his newly established purity in Christ Jesus.  I know it would be much easier for us to somehow live in a bubble as it comes to avoiding impurities, but the reality is we don't live in bubbles.  We face things, hear things, sense things, experience things which all present opportunity upon opportunity for us to be impacted by their influence.  God's desire is for us to cry out for him to show us how to remain pure - to keep our steps in right order, our minds attentive to the things he reveals, and our heart set in perfect peace through the instruction of his Word.

As our psalmist points out, there is a relationship between our "remaining pure" and allowing the things which help to create purity to "enter into" our lives.  The times we spend in reflection in the Word of God will never be wasted time - the significance of hiding those words deep within the recesses of our hearts and minds, even when we aren't setting out to memorize them, is immense.  Even when we just get the Word in by being exposed to in daily, we are allowing it to affect us.  We don't have to have a "twelve step" memory program where we have these little boxes with scripture cards for each day of the month.  We simply need to have a Bible and a desire to read it!  Just sayin!