In this part of the world, we find by ourselves that the principle of chastity, purity, is held in high esteem. The traditional people who we consider lost urge their young ones to stay pure before marriage. In some tribes of the Ewes, a lady who commits adultery runs mad the moment she steps foot in her family home. This is extreme but just to make sure their youth stay pure.
As believers the call to purity is not an optional one. Remember the laws/instructions of God our father are not burdensome. Thus, our command to live pure is not as if God were asking us to tie the world to our chest. It is true that nothing comes easy, so deciding to stay pure is not an easy battle as we live in an increasingly dark world, amongst a perverse and crooked generation.
Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica admonishes that they live to please God, 1st Thessalonians 4:1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. The matter of pleasing God often than not misunderstood, will be discussed in another article, another time. Continuing his epistle, he emphatically stated that it is God’s will that we live pure (verse 3). Let us not forget that the Bible was written by holy men who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (1st Pet 1:20-21). So it is not Paul by himself in attempt to domineer over the church wrote so many books. It is God’s predetermined will, counsel for every believer.
We as ministers, ambassadors, shepherds of God’s flock, are to present a church without wrinkles, blemish whatsoever. (Phil 2:15; 2nd Pet 3:14). Ephesians 5:27 puts it this way: so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. To present the church without spot we need to exhort them, continually teach them to stay pure. Purity is not a choice; it is a command.
How do we live pure in this crooked generation when sin abounds everywhere, even in our churches? A generation that condones evil as though it were good, who congratulate and worship evil men. Truth is no longer preached on our altars and it looks like we are losing grip of the Gospel, selling ourselves to the enemy. How? For some few who decided to live pure, they look like Elijah who complained to God that he was the only true prophet left when he ran away from Jezebel. You are not the only who has decided to stay pure! Believers have found themselves in Elijah’s situation, on the verge of throwing in the towel. Do not lose hope! There are other 7000 others who have his themselves; it is just that they have not declared their stand in the open.
Purity should start from the mind and heart. For the purpose of this article I would use the two synonymously. I strongly believe that purity must begin from the heart and the mind because as a man thinketh in his heart …Prov 23:7. Your life and course of action or behavior is an end product of your thinking and intentions. Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life (Prov 4:23). Your heart reflects your personality (Prov 27:19), so if the battle to stay pure should be won hands down it must be won first in the heart. Philippians 4:8 gives us a template or criteria of what should be allowed in the thinking zone of our lives as believers. Proverbs 6:25 seals it with a caution not to desire a woman in one heart; this also applies to the ladies. Purity whether sexual or in whatever sphere of life must begin in the mind and heart. In modern behavioral counseling psychology, they employ the cognitive- behavioral approach which is founded on the belief that in any given situation our thoughts (negative or positive) create our emotions and it is these emotions that eventually translate to become our actions, behaviour or habit. Guard your heart and mind with the Word of God.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9,11.
The Word of God functions as a cleansing sword to purge your thoughts (Heb 4:12). Give your heart daily doses of the Word of Truth to safeguard it because the heart of man is perverse (Jeremiah 17:19)
For sexual purity, Job 31:1(I dictated a covenant (an agreement) to my eyes; how then could I look [lustfully] upon a girl?) gives a preface in the old Testament in this regard.He made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze lustfully at a woman. The matter of sexual purity is not child’s play or any of these nursery rhymes, Job knew how grave this was so he made a covenant. A covenant! In this covenant, he bound himself not to look at a woman lustfully; he lived as bound knowing that it is only a fool that makes a vow to God and does not redeem it. This generation needs the ‘Job-kind’ of believers who will bind themselves by a covenant to stay pure and live by this covenant.
Our eyes, an entrance to the human mind, heart, soul, should not be left out in this battle to stay pure. Jesus introduces us to a dimension of purity in Matthew 5:28 when he said one commits adultery upon looking at a woman lustfully. What our eyes gaze on should be a matter of concern to us. Even the devil knows this, considering the fall of Eve in the garden, David and Bathsheba; it all started with their eyes. Pornographyis also a device of the devil in the same fashion. Our eyes should be disciplined as to what they watch. This looks so trivial but don’t forget that it is the little foxes that destroy a vineyard (Songs of Solomon 2:15). The trouble in David’s family as to who becomes his successor with several others losing their lives all began when he did not filter or censor carefully with the word of God and prayer what he saw with his eyes.
To stay pure, we need to be transformed by renewing our mind. Our minds need to be formatted from all worldly mindset, demonic teachings that regards purity as stupidity. We should not allow the world set standard on purity for us nor should we bow to the status quo. Doing that indicates defeat in the battle of purity. We should not conform to the standards laid by the world as their standards are poles apart with Bible standards. Let us strive to be different, hold fast to our faith and never hide our lights. It will be unwise to have a lamp and be groping in darkness because you’ve refused to light up the lamp. The world should not be our standard!
Discipline is key to staying pure (1st Thessalonians 4:4). We must have control over our bodies and not the other way around. Discipline through self-control is lacking in today’s church and generation of believers. Self-control, discipline was not invented by motivational speakers so you attain success in business, academia, sports and so on. It is a tool for believers to be victorious in living pure. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray. Proverbs 5:23 tells us the worth of discipline; it is worth our lives. My dear minister you need to discipline your body. Dear Apostle, you also need to discipline your body (1st Cor 9:27). Do not allow the body to gratify its desires…. and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13:14).
Our flesh is designed such that it always seeks to gratify its own desires (Rom 8:5). To object to the demands of our flesh we need to subject to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16). The Holy Spirit is supposed to be our friend, guide leading us along the path of righteousness (Psalm 23:3) but we have relegated Him to the background and shut the door to our lives in His face. How sad! It is under His leadership and tutelage that we obtain grace, wisdom and enablement to live pure. Let us allow Him choose our friends, dresses, movie choices etc. even the choice of our undergarments. A man, woman led by the Holy Spirit is hardly understood by fellow men( Prov 20:24).
Proverbs 22:3, prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering]. Wisdom teaches the prudent to hide himself in the face of imminent danger, the fool runs to embrace trouble. At times common sense as it is called informs you that you should not follow certain friends to certain places or not stay alone in a room with a charming lady/gentleman or not to drink certain brand of drinks. Be a prudent/wise person, just do not tread on that path. We can apply the other physical miscellaneous measures taught by our teachers, counsellors, motivational/inspirational speakers.
I would urge my dear ones who formerly lived impure lives while they were in darkness that it is not too late to stay pure. Don’t forget that purity is not bought anywhere. It takes you to be committed to this godly course.
It is for our own good, our own salvation, benefit that we stay pure. Apart from protecting us from diseases and making us law abiding citizens, it gives peace that can never be bought. It gives us the opportunity to see God (Matthew 5:8) and be His friend (Prov 22:11). Kings become our friends because of our purity. Let us stay pure and enjoy the blessings that come with it.