Pursuing Purity

In Lucy Maud Montgomery's book Anne of Avonlea (ch.3), 16-year-old Anne makes this comment: “I think a truly perfect person would be very uninteresting”. Such a comment supposes that it is imperfections that bring interest and excitement into our world, but is this true?

Pursuing Purity

Those that heard and saw the Lord wondered at the gracious words He spoke and marvelled at the things He did. And of Him it was said, ''in Him there is no sin'' (1 John 3:5b).

Purity is therefore not something to be sneered at, but strived for. It will not be easy (Romans 7:21-24), thus the need for help (Romans 7:25a; 8:13) and discipline both on our part and from God (Hebrews 12:1-14). The goal, however, will be worth it: ''Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God'' (Matthew 5:8; cp. Hebrews 12:14).

We should remember the expectation that God has always placed upon His people: ''Be holy, for I am holy'' (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16), an expectation that is justified when we consider that we are ''not [our] own, for [we] were bought at a price'' (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; cp. Exodus 20:2). Our expectation of being like Christ at His coming should also impact our desire for purity here (1 John 1:1-3).

As in all areas of the Christian life, discipline for a pure life needs to be ongoing. The Lord reminds us that it is out of the heart that good or evil comes (Matthew 12:35). We need to be on guard as to both what enters the mind (e.g., Job 31:1) and what our mind dwells on (Philippians 4:8).

Just as an athlete will not wear any unnecessary weight that could hold him back, so the Lord tells His followers to ruthlessly cut off those things that will cause them to sin (Matthew 18:7). Paul picks up on a similar theme in Colossians chapter 3 verse 5 (ESV), ''Put to death therefore what is earthly in you'' (my emphasis).

Are you struggling with something that is hindering your life from being as pure as it could be? Determine today to ''Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart'' (2 Timothy 2:22), but also remember that, if we fail, God promises, ''If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness'' (1 John 1:9).