"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" ~ Proverbs 4:23
As Christian young ladies, we are called to a high moral standard. Very often, this call means choosing the Lord's standards in stark defiance of those held by the world. In particular, God has called us to be pure for His glory (Matthew 5:8). In my own life, the Lord is graciously teaching me what it means to be pure before Him. Through the Lord's leading, I first made a commitment to purity at the age of 12. During this time, my father and I went through a Bible study on purity together. One verse that particularly impacted me at this point was Song of Solomon 8:4 which says,"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases." In other words, it is crucial that Christian young ladies wait on the Lord's will and not pursue romance before His perfect timing. As a result of this study on purity, I made a commitment to wait on the Lord's timing should it be His will for me to be married someday. Also, I submitted my heart to my parents and asked them to help me guard my heart.
The next year, at age 13, the Lord opened my eyes to make a deeper commitment to purity. At this time, the He used various books and Christian role models to teach me the practical aspects of a pure life. For example, I was wisely advised that any romantic relationship should be marriage-minded. Also, I was counseled to wait until marriage for my first kiss and to avoid flirtation and forming crushes. The goal of these standards is not perfection, but to live with a pure heart devoted to God.
Rather than a list of legalistic rules, these standards allowed me to live my teenage years fully for the Lord without the pressure of having to attract guys. Indeed, I truly enjoyed the freedom that a single focus on the Lord provided. While other girls around me experienced pain and heartbreak, I was able to grow with less distraction in my relationship with Christ.
However, I sometimes grew discontent because of some of my standards. For example, it is difficult to guard one's heart when so many other girls seem to be throwing their hearts around. Indeed, our society seems to "glorify" the teenage dating culture. However, my parents and other godly influences guided me to maintain a commitment to waiting on the Lord with regard to relationships.
Interestingly, I found that the battle for a pure and undistracted heart grew more difficult as I grew older. For example, with each year I wondered if I would simply remain single my whole life. (It must be noted, however, that lifelong singleness is in itself a noble calling).
At no point did I experience as much discontent in my singleness as I did during spring 2012. During this time, it seemed that so many girls I knew were caught up in talking about crushes and potential boyfriends. However, the Lord reminded me of His perfect love and I remained steadfast in my commitment to purity, even if it meant lifelong singleness.
By early summer 2012, I was probably closer to and more content in the Lord than I had ever been in my life. Amazingly, it was at this time that He brought a wonderful young man into my life.
While I still made an effort to guard my heart, the Lord soon made it clear that it was His perfect plan for me to enter into a relationship. It is such a blessing to start a marriage-minded courtship without the pain of past regrets! However, I certainly recognize that I only made the decisions that I did through the undeserved grace of the Lord.
I have been so blessed by what the Lord has taught me regarding purity. In fact, I encourage each girl reading this to make a God-honoring commitment to purity. If anyone has a painful past of mistakes in this area, it's not too late!! God in his marvelous grace is so willing to grant a fresh start. Purity is our calling as Christian young ladies, and it is to be taken both seriously and joyfully.
Are you ready to talk about a purity that has the potential to transform your life? God created you to live a life of transforming purity in Jesus that results in freedom, fulfillment, and fruitfulness. It is a purity that is beautiful, satisfying, exciting, and that impacts not only your life, but the lives and world around you.
God has called us to this purity that transforms us and allows us to fulfill and experience the purpose for which we were created.
It is crucial that you understand - Your level of purity affects your relationship with God, your life, your relationship with others, and how mightily God is able to use you for His glory.
When you hear the word purity, what do you think of? So that we are on the same page - when we talk about purity, we mean - “Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; as purity of heart or life.”
Let’s look together at elements of this transforming purity: ~ Purity has a purpose.Why do you want to be pure? Matthew 5:8 says, “"Blessed are the pure in
heart for they shall see God.” Stop and read it again… "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." What does it say will happen if you are pure in heart? You will see God. That is the purpose that we are alive – to see, know, enjoy, and glorify God! This alone is where we will be truly satisfied. Do you see why it is so important? (This is why purity is under such attack today by the enemy in our culture – to try to draw us away from purity of heart and seeing God.) You want to be pure so that you can SEE GOD - then your life will be transformed!
This is not a pursuit of purity filled with boredom and suffocating external performance, but with a joy and purpose that flows from a deeper heart desire to know God and commitment do whatever HE says is right and pure! As you behold God, you love Him, as you love Him, you want to follow Him, and desire to live a pure life and be pure so can know Him even more! This will lead us into the lives of fulfillment, freedom, and fruitfulness that God intended us to live, as a result of purity and seeing Him!
When this clicked in my mind and heart, it was transforming for me. Before I pursued purity because I knew it was right and I wanted good and not bad consequences. But, as I knew the Lord and then understood this verse, it gave a totally different motivation for purity - I wanted to know Jesus! We must let our life passion be to know see and know the Lord – not wanting anything to get in the way! This passionate purpose will cause us not to see how close to the line we can get in the area of purity, but how far away. The more we know the Lord, the more this will cause us to see that He is far more satisfying than any impurity that could tempt us. Our longing to know God more should drive us to pursue purity at all costs!
2 Timothy 2:22 helps us see the Lord’s call to run from impurity and run towards purity: "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
One summer I was canoeing through some reeds with some young women. All of a sudden one of the young women started screaming. A spider had gotten in the canoe. She was deathly afraid of spiders and was doing all she could to get away from it. We should be even more serious than this as we flee sin and pursue purity, keeping the purpose in mind and realizing the affect it has on our ability to see God and walk with Him.
~ Purity starts in your heart.“The heart of the matter, is a matter of the heart.” someone once said. God is most concerned about our heart, as well as how we live outwardly. It is our heart that He cares about first. Outward conformity is not the final answer – and while they can do some good, they don’t change our heart. God is calling us to purity of heart – and then all of our life can flow from our heart condition. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
It’s important to look at your heart and ask: Am I wanting to know God more than I am wanting sin? Am I believing that knowing Jesus will make me far happier than allowing impurity in my life? Am I trusting that the God who created me, knows what is best for me, and is calling me to obey for my best and His glory? Am I willing to receive the Lord’s grace to fight sin and pursue purity at all costs? The answers to these questions take place in our hearts – and then show proof in our lives of our heart condition.
Something must be made very clear - We cannot make our heart pure – Jesus alone can. He opens our eyes to our need and gives us grace to look to Him to purify our heart through: 1. Salvation – you seeing your sinful heart and desperate need for a Savior from your sins, trusting in Jesus alone and His death on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins, and inviting Him to come into your life, cleanse you from your sins, and be in charge of your life. 2. Sanctification – a lifelong process of the Lord working in us and us working with Him, by the grace that He supplies, to purify us from our sin and self and fill us with Jesus. At salvation, you were washed clean from your sins, and Jesus’ perfect record became yours. Now, He is in the process of purifying your heart to make your more like Him – While we will never be perfectly pure in life on this earth, the more He purifies our hearts, the more clearly we can see Him! THAT is what we want and should be our desire moment-by-moment!
Tonight I made a smoothie. Suppose after I had added the fresh fruit, juice, etc. I decided that I could add just a little bit of poison – would that make that much of a difference? It is the same way when we allow even a little sin in our lives – It affects every area of our lives and damages our walk with Christ. Do you see what is at stake? We are not looking at little hand-slaps, when we allow sin, we are hindering our most important relationship in the world with Jesus!
We must daily, moment-by-moment receive the Lord’s grace to “keep your heart” – to receive the Lord’s grace to watchfully pursue purity and flee from impurity in a way that enables us to see God for all that He is. This purity of heart will then flow out in how you live in beautiful ways!
~ Purity of heart flows out in purity of life. What you do is an outflow of what is in your heart. How you live your life stems from your heart, what you love, and what you think will make you happy. If we believe that God satisfies, that He created us and calls us to do what He created for our best, and that His ways work, we will obey Him and pursue purity in every area – and experience the amazing results. This comes out in choices in what you: ~ think about ~ say ~ wear ~ listen to ~ watch ~ do with your body ~ friends you choose ~ and so much more!
It is also critical that we are intentionally rejecting impurity and filling our lives with things that help us in purity and loving Jesus! Stop and evaluate what you are reading, listening to, watching, and thinking about. Something that has been so helpful for me is to evaluate where my heart is by what I am desiring and encourage my heart in purity by evaluating things by asking myself, “Is this helping me towards purity and knowing Jesus, or encouraging me in impurity and drawing me from Jesus?” Be purposeful in filling your life with pure things and things that will encourage you in purity and loving Jesus. These things include: - Memorizing Scripture - Listening to pure music - Reading books that will encourage you in your relationship with the Lord and purity - Spending time with friends who are seeking Jesus and purity - Listening to sermons and attending conferences - and so much more! Psalm 119:8-10 is so helpful,“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you;let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Making daily choices to live in purity includes what you think, what you say, how you act, your attitudes, and what you do with your body. Stop and ask yourself, “Is how I am living at this moment honoring the Lord through purity?” Every action has consequences.So, today as you decide what to think about, listen to, look at, do, etc., remember Who you are living for and the results of living a life of purity. It is a daily choice that bears incredible fruit.
Romans 6:13 gives us a great word picture, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” It is important for each of us to acknowledge that we all have failed in the area of purity – whether it is in heart, thought, word, or action. This is why Jesus had to die in the Cross in our place for our sins, so that He could cleanse us and make us right with God – enabling us to see Him for all that He is! When we see the promise of purity and that sin, though forgiven, still has consequences (and is not a reason to be casual about sin and impurity) – this should lead us to the Cross for cleansing and a fresh start. 1 John 1:9,“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”This is the beauty of what Jesus has done for you and Jesus is offering this to you today.
As purity flows out of our heart into the rest of our life, it will have a powerful impact.~ Purity affects your relationships. While purity of heart will deeply affect all of our relationships – as the Lord purifies our desires, motives, etc. - one of the major areas that purity is manifested is our relationships with the opposite gender. (In other words, guys.) While we could talk for hours on this subject, in a nutshell, having a pure heart and being satisfied in Jesus will enable us to relate to young men with the goal of pointing them to the Lord, seeing Him, and being satisfied in Him – instead of trying to attract them and distracting them from the Lord!Having a pure heart, being fulfilled in Christ, and seeking to embrace His plan for His best in guy relationships will enable you to have healthy, God-honoring relationships with young men – and will lead you to desire to save yourself - heart, mind, and body - for your future husband. When you are in this place is when you experience the freedom of seeking and serving the Lord with brothers in Christ in the way for which we were intended. (I know, this has been critical for me!) Then everyone is challenged on in the Lord and HE is glorified, as a result! (The Beautiful to God Online Conference session “The Power of a Pure Heart and Single Focus”, which will be posted next week, will address this area much more.) ~ Purity bears fruit – in your life and the lives of others.Seeking the Lord and purity through purpose, purging, and pursuit will bring powerful results in your heart, walk with Him, and life!
This fruit includes: - Seeing God more clearly and incredible growth in Him - Freedom and joy you never imagined possible - God’s blessing - Right motivations in and relationships with people – especially the opposite gender - God can accomplish His best in your life and use you in mighty ways for His gloryAs He grows you in purity, it transforms your life as it results in more of God, being satisfied in Him, Him shining through you, lives being impacted for Him, and Him being glorified.
~ Purity in your life – application. Purity begins and ends with Jesus. Come to Him asking for His grace to pursue purity and work in your heart to purify you. He will be faithful! - Purpose- Ask yourself, “What is my motivation for purity?” Want seeing and knowing Jesus more than anything – and let that be your motivation for purity. Ask the Lord for a deeper desire for a pure heart, so that you can see, know, and walk with Him like you were created to! - Purge - Go before the Lord and ask Him to reveal the sins, hindrances, distractions, and idols that are blocking the way of your relationship with Him.Pray through them with Him, ask His forgiveness and cleansing, yield them to Him, and ask for His grace to fill those areas with Himself! Reject things that are impure and pull you away from Jesus. - Pursue – Focus on things that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord and purity. Fill your heart, mind, eyes, and ears with things that encourage you in Jesus and purity. (Devotions, Scripture memory, Bible study, prayer, journal, etc.) As you cling to Jesus and pursue these things, the Lord will bring amazing fruit in your life!
1 Timothy 4:12 beautifully tells us, "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."
So, my friends, the question remains - “What are YOU going to do with the Lord’s call to transforming purity?”
God is calling you to this personally and you must receive His grace to respond. There is nothing in the world like knowing and walking with God - Don’t allow anything to get in the way of it! Embrace a life that is set apart for Christ with a total commitment to purity in every area of your life, no matter the cost, remembering the purpose and promised results. Let’s pursue purity – longing for more of God. As you see Him, your life will be transformed. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
God created you to live a life of transforming purity in Jesus that results in freedom, fulfillment, and fruitfulness. God has called us to this purity that transforms us and allows us to fulfill and experience the purpose for which we were created. Your level of purity affects your relationship with God, your life, your relationship with others, and how mightily God is able to use you for His glory... "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)... You want to be pure so that you can SEE GOD - then your life will be transformed!
Please join us for this video as we look at the the way the Lord transforms our lives through purity!
Please visit our website lovingthelordministries.org for handouts and study questions for this session!
We would like to invite you to join us for the 2017 Summer Devotions Pursuit - a special time of seeking Jesus from June 1st - August 31st!
Here are the basic details:
WHO: You and Jesus
WHERE: Wherever you are
WHEN: June 1st - August 31st, 2017
WHAT IS INVOLVED:
- 15 minutes of devotions a day
- Memorizing 1 verse a week
- Choosing and contacting an accountability partner once every 2 weeks
... and an amazing summer with Jesus! You can print off a chart to keep track on the LTLM website -http://lovingthelordministries.org/event-items/summer-pursuit!
REWARD: When you complete the Summer Pursuit: You send in your chart by September 7th and you receive a reward in the mail - in addition to the best reward of knowing Jesus! This year's reward will be a special surprise package!
RSVP:It is not necessary to let us know that you are taking part in the Summer Devotions Pursuit - You can just send your chart in at the end of the summer when you complete the Pursuit! (That said, you can leave a comment on this post just for fun if you want to let us know you are taking part!)
You can watch the "Summer Devotions Pursuit" video (above, or at http://vimeo.com/41883667) and visit the website (www.lovingthelordministries.org) for more details. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Invite your friends to join us!!!
This is going to be an amazing summer of pursuing and growing in knowing Jesus! Pursue Jesus with all that you are this summer, friends. He is so amazing! He will meet with you - and you will never be the same!
Our prayer is that for each of us this summer will be a powerful time to begin, or deepen, a life pattern of seeking Jesus and growing in experiencing His goodness every day!