The Test #3 Am I Pure?
The Test #3 Am I Pure?
Religion has a horrible power to blind you to the state of your soul. Crazy but true. Jesus called a group of religious leaders blind guides. These leaders majored in minors while neglecting the heart of their faith. Over the past few decades the way Christianity has been peddled and promoted it’s easy to think you’re a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Christ because you believe a couple of scriptural truths, recited a sinners prayer, and keep some man-made rules. The result is lukewarm Christianity, a compromised faith. The result is a lifestyle that is no different from someone who has no knowledge of God and His great gift of salvation. To escape the traps of culture and religion there is a test that you can take, a self-examination, to see if Christ is in you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
This self-examination consists of five questions: “Am I Truthful? Am I Honest? Am I Pure? Am I easily offended? Am I selfish?” (E Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p 28). A well-thought-out answer is required. Contemplation is the 7th habit of a disciple, and you will need to have that heart-to-heart discussion with God. We’ve considered the first two questions. Today we will lay the groundwork for each of us to answer the question “Am I Pure?”
Purity means nothing mixed, free from contaminants. Purity means that something consists of just one thing. In Leviticus, the third book, writing, or chapter in your Bible, contains purity laws. Some of the laws seem strange to us, like not mixing cotton and wool in the same garment. Today 60% polyester and 40% cotton would be considered unclean, and impure because it is a mix of two different things. The purity laws are meant to symbolize the purity of God. The followers of a pure God are to be pure, so in the old laws the clothes you wear, and the food you eat, are to be one thing. An animal that was a mixture of traits was considered unclean. I am sure the platypus would have been on the unclean list if the ancients knew of its existence. Jesus taught us that purity was ethical, it was moral purity that a follower of His was to pursue.
When we think about moral purity high on our list is sexual purity. The Bible lays great importance on sexual purity. Sexual intimacy is reserved for a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24, Hebrews 13:4). Sexual activity outside the bonds of a marriage sanctified by God is to engage in behavior inconsistent with discipleship. Living together before marriage or as the old folks used to call it “shacking up” is behavior inconsistent with discipleship (Ephesians 5:3). Infidelity is inconsistent with discipleship. Entertaining yourself with pornography is inconsistent with discipleship. Jesus placed such a high emphasis on sexual purity that to harbor lustful thoughts were inconsistent with discipleship (Matthew 5:28). In our culture it is extremely difficult to stay pure in thought and deed. We live in such a sex-saturated society that I will assume you’ve been there and done that. If that is the case, then find some wisdom in the words of Jesus:
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
“…dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
“…train yourself up in godliness.”
Train yourself, that calls for self-discipline and most likely an accountability partner. You are to train in living your life in such a way that you are partnering with the Holy Spirit in His sanctifying grace to transform every area of your life to be like Jesus. It’s cliché now, but still, it can be effective in training to ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?” You train yourself in obedience every time you say now to temptation. Our great temptation is to be self-exalting, to do what we want, when we want, to whom we want, regardless of possible consequences because it seems right for us because we deserve it. After all, everyone is doing it anyway. The Holy Spirit empowers you to be pure, to overcome temptation, or escape from it. Joseph, when being seduced by Potiphar’s wife, vacated the premises (Genesis 39). If you are feeling that you are being overwhelmed by a temptation look for the escape route, there will be one available.
…the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.