Monday, September 15, 2008

At the Well - Purity

Today's topic is hosted by Tracy at Thirsty for Him.

Let's take a close look and try to understand the definitions of impurity and purity.

What is impurity?

One of the Hebrew words for impurity stems from the word Chata' - to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness (Qal) to miss to sin, miss the goal or path of right and duty to incur guilt, incur penalty by sin, forfeit (Piel) to bear loss to make a sin-offering to purify from sin to purify from uncleanness (Hiphil) to miss the mark to induce to sin, cause to sin to bring into guilt or condemnation or punishment (Hithpael) to miss oneself, lose oneself, wander from the way to purify...

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

~ Psalm 119:11

The Psalmist knew that one of the ways he could keep from being impure was to hide God's Word in His heart. He studied the Scriptures, as King's were commanded to do back in the day, but more than studying God's Word, He treasured God's Word. He kept it in His heart. He meditated on it and lived by it. He knew if he kept God's Word in his heart, he wouldn't wander from the path, that he would miss the sin that was waiting to entangle him.

What is purity?

The greek word is Hagiosune - majesty, holiness; moral purity

"To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." ~ 1 Thessalonians 3:13

God has called us to live holy and pure lives, which is hard to do in the world we live in.

"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." ~ 1 Peter 1:14-16

As Christians, we may tend to think we're doing pretty good in the purity arena, because we have a close walk with God. We must remember, though, that the exhortation in the verses above is a pretty tall order. God wouldn't call us to anything we couldn't do.

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." ~ Corinthians 10:12-13

With all this in mind, Tracy has asked some hard questions! I love the hard ones. They make me think. They make me search. They draw me closer to Christ.

How do we teach the next generation (both our daughters and other young Christian women) how to live a life of purity WITHOUT falling into legalistic rules, or on the other hand, to slip into a worldly mindset, teetering on impurity?

Leading by example is one of the best methods I know to teach the next generation to lead holy and pure lives. We must examine our hearts before we try to lead others, though. If our own hearts are not right before God, how can we lead others?

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." ~ Psalm 139:23-24

I believe starting early is essential in training the next generation to be pure.

Regarding our own children, we know this verse well.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6

I think we can apply it to relationships as well, especially the next generation of those we are to teach. If we begin early, we've caught them while they're "fresh" to us.

How do we live, as Jesus said, "in the world" without being "of the world?"

As Christians, we live in a world that does not define itself by the Christian faith, morals and mindsets we do.

We cannot take ourselves out of the world and isolate ourselves from all manner of living. Christ didn't. He was raised in the world we live in. He faced the hardships we face, the unbelief of even people in His own hometown, and was concerned about us and the world He was leaving us in. Shortly before His death (and resurrection on the cross), He prayed for his disciples regarding the world they lived in.

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." ~ John 17:15-19

So how do we live in the world but not be of the world? The first thing we must do is abide in Christ.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." ~ John 15:9-11

Second, we must obey His commands. What are His commands? To live a life completely separate of the world, hidden and apart from others? No!

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." ~ John 15:12

If we are to show love to others and set examples before them, we are to live our lives "out loud".

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light." ~ Luke 11:33

Third, we have to be careful of avoiding the rituals of the world. Back in the day, sacrifices were a part of life.

"First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made)." ~ Hebrews 10:8

God wanted the people's love, though, that were commanded to go with the sacrifices. He didn't intend for us to be caught up in legalistic rules that would make us reach some higher plane of life.

"in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." ~ Ephesians 2:7-9

All the "works" in the world won't save us, and will surely drive others away from living the life of purity we are trying to teach! We must teach God's grace first. Works do come naturally from grace, though.

How is the word of God "maligned" when we aren't living in purity?

What does the word malign even mean? It basically means "discredit". any time we do not live in the purity and holiness God desires for us, we discredit His Word. His Word is full of how we are to live our lives. Not to follow His Word is to basically be disobedient and defiant to Him, and when we do that, we show the world that we don't care. Since we do care, we must be careful not to malign God's Word.

We are to live lives of purity and teach other women to be pure.

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. ~ Titus 2:3-5 (Emphasis, mine)

P - Pray for God's wisdom to lead the next generation in purity and holiness

U - Understand that it is our duty as Christian women

R - Reflect God to these women

I - Identify with the world, but not be of it

T - Trust God in all things

Y - Yield to God's call to purity in our own lives

Father, I have so much to learn in this area of my life, and my heart is ready for to receive the instruction You have for me. May I learn from the other women At the Well this morning. Thank you for Tracy's call to teach this topic to us and share with us her passion. Help us love You more and reflect Your holiness and purity in our lives, Lord.

Join the other Women At the Well for more on this subject. We'd love to have you visit!


Chelsey said...

Good stuff Laurie Ann!!! Thanks for coming to The Well today! :)

Joyfull said...

Thanks for sharing with us At the Well today. Your post is rich in knowledge and encouragement with a humble heart seeking to follow His ways. I loved the PURITY points and the prayer, may we always reflect His purity.

LAURIE said...

Laurie Ann,
As always...great post! I loved what you said "live our lives outloud." Wow! That there is a wonderful challenge to us. -Blessings, Laurie

Amydeanne said...

even though i only read these right now, i am loving them!

God Bless!

JesusRulzMe said...

Laurie Ann,

I LOVE your acrostic! Thank you so much for this wonderful post that is just FULL of God's word to lead and guide us into purity!

Bless you sister!

LauraLee Shaw said...

So much great stuff, and your acrostics always bring my heart joy. This is my favorite point in your post:
We must examine our hearts before we try to lead others, though. If our own hearts are not right before God, how can we lead others? Ouch, great stuff!

a woman found said...

I love how you look up what the words mean... I LOOOOOOVEEE DOING THAT! Sometimes it's easy to get dull about the meaning of a passage because we've heard the same words a million times and it helps (at least it does for me) to hear the original meaning of these words.