Praying for Purity

imageThe word purity has various connotations. But, usually when people hear purity, they automatically think of sexual purity (chastity or abstinence). Sexual purity is one type of purity that we should all definitely and wholeheartedly strive for. But, it is not the only approach to purity.  We should be pure in our thoughts (no lusting or improper motives), words (no cussing, gossip or unkind words) and deeds (no stealing, sexual activity or “everything but” activity). God calls every person, especially women (single and married) to be pure.  Choosing and pursuing purity means a desire to commit every area of your life to God so that you can be His vessel (Romans 6:13).  Purity begins in your heart.  As a [wo]man thinks in [her] heart, so [s]he is (Proverbs 23:7).

 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  – Matthew 5:8

Because Christ calls us to be pure in our thoughts, words and deeds, we must answer his calling. It is hard to be pure in these areas when society and pop culture are constantly pushing movies, TV shows, music, and magazines that have anything but pure messages in them.  Such media desensitizes us, making it hard to remain pure, especially when we don’t do our part to avoid it. Our bodies are living sacrifices.  We are set apart! We should not become/behave like everyone else.  Instead, we should behave differently because of what we know to be God’s will for our lives (Romans 12:1 – 2). In today’s society, many women are becoming more and more desensitized.  Sex and sexual activity are a way of life for some people.  Everyone is doing it and talking about it. As a result, these women cannot be examples to teenagers and younger adults because they aren’t leading by example. When we lower our standards to the standards of the world, we are no longer set apart. We are just like everyone else.  It should never be our goal to be just like everyone else.

1 Timothy 2:19 instructs us to depart from iniquity. That means we have to be mindful of what we see, what we hear and what influences are in our lives. Music, various forms of media and friends and associates have great influence over our lives. A few months ago I asked the kids (ages 11 – 13) in my Sunday school class about the music they listen to. The artists’ names started flowing.  I told them that I liked some of the artists they named.  I also told them that nothing is wrong with secular music. Then I cautioned them that all music is not created equally – especially music with explicit and profane language and  music objectifies women.  What we see, hear and involve ourselves in (be it good or bad) will eventually start to manifest itself in our conversations and actions. What goes into our minds/hearts will eventually come out.  I have to remind myself of this.

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Seeing + Hearing + Speaking x NO EVIL = Thinking & Doing No Evil

So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart AND useful (emphasis my own) for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. – 2 Timothy 2:2 (AMP)

When we have impure thoughts, we need to reject those thoughts and command them to leave our minds immediately. Once a thought enters my mind, I try not to focus on it. I don’t let my imagination run wild. We must die to ourselves daily and live in righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).  We are set apart for God’s holy purpose.  We can’t fulfill that purpose/those purposes if we are impure.

 …we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

 Things that can and often do cause us to be impure are our triggers.  Examples of triggers are music, friends, excess alcohol and the way we choose to spend our free time.  Our triggers also influence our attitudes and behaviors. Not each of these things is a trigger for everyone. Friends may be one person’s trigger; alcohol and music might be another person’s trigger, while a combination of several things might be yet another person’s trigger.  God does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, and he always provides a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must pray that God will guide us in maintaining (or regaining) our purity and that he will help us establish boundaries that prevent our triggers from being pulled.  If you know that drinking too much and hearing certain types of music causes you to behave differently or improperly, STOP listening to those types of music, especially when you drink.

We should be intentional about the friendships we foster and the things we hear, see and watch on TV and the internet.  I have figured out what my triggers are.  As a result, I have stopped reading certain books, watching certain things on TV and listening to certain music (though I do still listen to secular music).  By being intentional about the words going into my ears and sights before my eyes, I am better able to control (by God’s grace), the negative influences in and over my life.  What are your triggers?

Will power is a great thing to have.  But, we don’t have to rely on will power as much when we change our environment and our influences.  Striving to remain pure can be is difficult. As we continue to read God’s word, meditate on it and pray, our thinking will align with God’s will. Daily, we will be strengthened and encouraged.  Living pure lives gives us strength, power and courage to live abundant lives such that other’s can see God at work in us.  By striving to live pure lives, we are setting an example for others and making God look good in the process.

But you are a chosen race; a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [god’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. –   1 Peter 2:9 (AMP)

God can’t fix issues that we don’t acknowledge. Acknowledge areas in your life where you could be more pure.  If there is a certain vice you need to overcome, certain temptations you need to avoid or certain thoughts you need removed from your mind, admit those shortcomings to God and ask him to take control of those sin issues.  If you are unmarried and still involved in a sexual relationship (or married and having an extramarital affair), confess these sins to God and ask his forgiveness. He is faithful. He will forgive and restore you.

Sample Purity Prayer: Lord, thank you for your restorative and redeeming power. My thoughts (words, actions, etc.) are sinful. Please remove the things that trigger those desires that are not in compliance with your will for my life. Father, I pray that every improper thought, desire, emotion, action and reaction is taken captive and made to obey Christ. Please give me a pure heart and pure motives so that you can use me for your glory. Finally, Lord, I ask that you restore my generation so that we can passionately and purposefully pursue you.  In the majestic name of Jesus, Amen.

Just like we should guard our hearts, we should guard our purity.  The pursuit of purity matters. It is important! Fight for it!  Be encouraged and (like a friend told me last week) keep making God look good!

 Peace and blessings!

P.S. There were quite a few verses of scripture that I wanted to use for this post. But, it was getting wordy so I couldn’t use them all.  I have listed them here.  Click on each scripture to be taken to the text.  Read them, write them and pray about their application to your life.

As a friend recently told me, keep making God look good.

Peace and blessings!

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