walk in the word
“At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
We’ve been talking about some pretty intense subjects the last couple of weeks, continuing our study, “No More Games: Living and Breathing the Holiness of God.” The topic on the table today is personal purity.
When I think of purity, the craziest thing comes to my mind. I think of maple syrup. As teenagers, my brothers and I helped my grandfather collect sap from his maple tree forest. We’d gather all the pails and take them to the sugar shack. Then we’d boil the sap down and make a few hundred gallons of pure maple syrup.
Now, if you think you’ve tasted pure maple syrup, just read the label. “Containspure maple syrup” is not the pure thing. You can tell I’m a bit fussy about my syrup even today.
Here’s the connection. Whether it’s maple syrup or the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, if something else is mixed in, it’s not pure.
Answer this question as honestly as you can. As we study God’s Word, if you hear God calling you to a pure life, will you respond? If the Spirit of God exposes an impure habit, will you break it off? Before you read any more it would be good to get this issue settled. If you’re not willing to give God’s Word and God’s Spirit the authority to change the way you live, then you might as well read something else. But if you are, then get ready to taste and see the goodness of the Lord as He directs your life to pure living. You’ll never be satisfied with life mixed with any of the world’s ingredients again.
The apostle Paul laid it out clearly in Romans 12:1:
“I appeal to you by the mercies of God to present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (don’t mix in anything worldly), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Our personal habits settle down very quickly into how we live. And believe it, God knows. If your life pleases Him, then you’re like a fragrant offering rising up to His nose. He breaths in your sacrifice. He receives your life as pure worship.
So where do you stand in this regard? “Well, I’m kind of new in the Lord, and I have some habits.” Well, great! Now you know, and you can break them and continue to get free in Christ. You say, “Well, I used to be there, but I’ve kind of lowered my guard a little bit.” Ok—raise it again! Let’s be done with anything not fitting God’s called-out ones. Holiness means no more games.
Committed to pure living? Get in the habit of reading and living Ephesians 5. Look at verse 9 and 10: “Walk as children of light . . . discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Walk in the light is evidence of incredible transformation. You may not look really different. But your walk will. Finding out what pleases God . . . and then doing it is all you really need to know.
So practically, what does that mean? This ten point survey might help you evaluate your walk. Remember your decision at the beginning to let the Spirit of God change you if He exposes an impure habit? It’s time to kick your commitment in gear. Take a deep breath and answer honestly:
1. When was the last time I made a crude joke or laughed at one? Three days ago? Three months? Three years? Do people have the impression that I will tolerate it?
2. When was the last time I sat through a sexual scene on television completely undisturbed?
3. Men especially—do my eyes look over someone attractive in a way that would make them uncomfortable if they noticed?
4. Are there words in my vocabulary which link me to the world and not to Christ?
5. Do I rationalize my enjoyment of books that tell immoral stories?
6. Do I go places where the atmosphere is sexually charged or in some other way worldly and yet it doesn’t bother me?
7. Am I struggling with an attraction or a relationship with a person who is not my spouse? (Or if single) Someone who’s not a Christian?
8. Are my topics of conversation honoring to others? Do they give grace to those who hear? (Ephesians 4:29b).
9. How do my convictions about appropriate entertainment differ from someone who doesn’t know Christ?
10. What do I do that I would not do if Jesus Christ were visually present with me? (I say visually because He ispresent whether you recognize it or not.)
Got some things to work on? This prayer might be on your heart:
“God—Your Word does have authority in my life. You have spoken to some very specific habits in me and I want to change. I’m done with the games and the rationalizations. I don’t care what anyone else thinks; I want to be holy man . . . a godly woman. I hear Your call to purity, and I want today to be a turning point in my life. I draw upon Your strength and Your grace to help me get those things out of my house and out of my life. Amen”
Nothings tastes as sweet or smells more fragrant to God than a pure life. Walk in the light, friends, as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). No matter where you are, start today.
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