Purity: What’s the Reward?

I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I let my mind wander to all kinds of interesting topics, which sometimes gets me into trouble and other times leads to productive ideas for me to explore. This morning I began thinking about the practical life lessons that can be found in the Bible. Even if you don’t believe in it for the spiritual principles, I think we can all agree that not being in debt, loving and forgiving others, and being generous (all concepts taught in the Bible) are important and valuable in our lives.

As I was mulling over those things, my mind took an unexpected turn to the subject of purity. Over and over again, purity is mentioned as a way of life worthy of striving toward. This can be particularly difficult in our world today, but people have been struggling to stay pure since humanity’s beginning. Then my thoughts turned toward Jesus. The Bible says that he was without sin. He stayed pure. Think about it: in his 33 years on the earth he didn’t mess up once. That’s absolutely amazing to me! It could be easy to dismiss this because he is fully God, but I would like to focus on the fact that Jesus was fully man. Jesus went through puberty, was a teenager, became a young man and still, he remained pure.

We know Jesus had amazing self-control. He was tempted by the devil 3 times and never gave in, combating each enticement with the truth of God’s Word. But I’m wondering if the key to self-control is the knowledge that something even better is waiting for you.

Jesus remained pure in spite of everything that was happening around him. Jesus was probably a good looking guy and he had lots of good qualities: he was kind, loving, and respectful. I think Jesus would’ve been quite the catch. I would imagine that women were attracted to Jesus, especially once his fame spread throughout Israel. I know if my friend or family member were sick and then I saw a guy heal them, I’d probably develop a little crush on this amazing guy (don’t judge, ladies you’d probably do the same). And yet Jesus stayed pure.

He was focused on something greater.

Jesus remained pure for us. We, the church, are known in the Bible as the “Bride of Christ” and we’re going to have a big marriage ceremony where we are united with Him forever. Jesus remained pure so he could be with us. He remained pure to be the sacrifice that reunited us with God. He loved us so much that stayed pure, rejecting the temptations of lust, power, greed, control, and I’m sure a thousand other things. His love for us and desire to be with us outweighed any momentary desire he had. I’m going to say it again: Jesus remained pure for us.

What if we talked about purity (in every area of our lives) in this light? Jesus never cheated on his taxes, lied to his mom, or cussed out a frustrating person, because his eyes were focused upon the calling for his life: reuniting us with himself. Jesus was man so he can empathize with our struggles, having faced them himself and not succumbed to them. What if, instead of thinking of purity as a sacrifice we do because it’s the “right thing”, we focused on the goal? Being a person of integrity at work can be hard, but can pay off over time when that outside agency comes to perform an audit. Not indulging in gossip can be difficult and can cost you some friendships, but can lead to you to gaining a different quality of company. What if we kept our head on our shoulders and asked “is this worth it?” before giving into that temptation?

This way of living can be difficult, but is worth it. If the same wisely written book that teaches us valuable lessons about respect and honor advocates being pure, I’m inclined to stop and take notice. I believe small changes like renewing our minds with the Word, not engaging in certain conversations, and removing some language from our vocabulary will in no way detract from our lives, but will, in fact, enhance it. Jesus came to give us abundant life, so what if purity helps us tap into that experience more fully? What if being more mindful of our actions adds something to our lives? I think it’s worth a shot. Purity seems like a “best practice” I would like to intentionally begin practicing. What about you?

 

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