Purity, ugh, are you having flashbacks to squeamish talks about sex in the church basement during youth group? I think that’s what most people think of first when this word comes up, even if you weren’t subjected to those uncomfortable youth group conversations. However, the Bible has a lot to say about purity and much of it has nothing to do with sexuality.
To be pure, in the biblical sense, is to be sinless. Purity is defined as “an absence of blemish or stain, especially sin. The state of being morally and spiritually pure, which is seen by Scripture as the result of being the people of God and also as an expected distinguishing mark of the church.” (Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.)
So in terms of God’s attributes you would tend to think of this as one of the incommunicable ones, those that we do not share with him. But that’s not the case, purity is, in fact, a communicable attribute according to 1 John 3: 3; “And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.” But how in the world are we to be sinless?
The truth is we already are, because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imparted to us, God the Father sees us as sinless. But yet we’re still admonished to live pure lives, and, as we are all painfully aware, we continue to sin. So how do we reconcile our sinfulness with a call to live sinless?
The answer came to me as we were journaling about wisdom last month. I kept seeing a connection between wisdom and purity, how purity leads to wisdom. As I meditated on the role purity plays in gaining wisdom I began to see that purity is an active pursuit, not a passive state. Much like wisdom. We pursue wisdom, it doesn’t just come to us, likewise we pursue purity. And in its pursuit, we become wiser.
For me this quickly took a very personal turn. I was immediately convicted of my social media use. I realized that, although my social media feed is pretty tame, it is still cultivating sinful thoughts and ideas, leading to sinful actions. Things like materialism and covetousness and comparison. And one that became really amplified as I was recovering from my foot surgery, laziness. There have been days where I feel like I’m coming out of a drunken stupor after being lost scrolling for who knows how long. My senses and my sensitivity have become dulled and that makes me less available and less able to discern the voice of God.
Mark 12: 30 tells us that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Anything that requires the use of my heart, soul, mind, and strength sounds like it’s not going to be easy. And it’s not, fighting to remain pure in a “crooked and sinful generation” (Phil.2: 15) is not without difficulty. But we do it, we fight for it because, as the rest of the verse says; we are meant “to shine among them like stars in the sky.” Stars are not only beautiful to look at but they give direction, they light the way, and we are to be bright shining stars guiding others to the way of Christ. We cannot do this if we look just like them. The blind can’t lead the blind.
The wisdom I need to be able to lead a lost soul to Christ can only come through union with Him, I need unhindered communion with God in order to hear his voice and do His will. I think of it like this, if I needed directions to the hospital because I had someone in the car who was gravely ill I would need you to give me clear directions that I could hear and understand. If you proceed to give me said directions while at the same time having 6 stereos and 4 televisions all playing on different stations at full volume, what are the chances of me getting those directions accurately or at all?
For me, social media is all of those stereos and televisions, the directions have been getting through but I know I’m missing some things. I want the whole message, I want to try unhindered fellowship with God, I want to at least give myself a fighting chance.
One more thing, this is by no means a judgment on anyone else, like I said, this is 100% personal, this is what God said to me, period. If you feel a similar conviction and would like to join me, I’m going to start out real easy, no social media for the month of August. That’s it, see you all in September.