Purity is not innocence— it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character— it is “the pure in heart” who “see God.”
God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace, but we still have something that we must carefully watch. It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our “inner sanctuary” be kept right with God, but also the “outer courts” must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.
A practical help in keeping your personal purity unblemished in your relations with other people is to begin to see them as God does. Say to yourself, “That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!”
“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” Philippians 3:8
You may have heard the story about the pranksters who broke into a hardware store. Strangely enough, they didn’t steal a thing. Yet what they did created chaos of epic proportions—they switched all the price tags!
The store owner was unaware of anything amiss until the first customer stepped to the cash register with a hammer that rang up at $199.95. Naturally, the customer’s jaw dropped. “What’s that thing made of?” he demanded. “Platinum?”
On further inspection, employees noticed that a big screen TV in the appliance section was selling for $14.95. The goods were all the same, resting on the same shelves as the night before, but the assigned values were hopelessly jumbled.
I can’t help but think that Satan likes to pull the same stunt with us. Unaware of his stealth work, we go through life with mixed-up price tags on our accomplishments and accolades. We assign the wrong value to who we are and what we have—not to mention the lack of value we assign to God who unequivocally deserves the highest value.
Paul had the price tags right when he wrote to the Philippian believers: “The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. . . . I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him” (Philippians 3:7-8, The Message).
There’s Paul at the cash register, looking at all the price tags attached to his experiences, achievements, and treasures. He’s got a red pen in his hand, and all those things that used to be so valuable, so precious, so terribly important to him have been slashed down to zero. In fact, Paul’s loading them up in boxes, headed for the dumpster out back.
I find it interesting that this same Paul who once assigned no value to Jesus at all—and in fact hated Him—now can’t even put a price on the privilege of experiencing Him. After his unforgettable personal encounter with the living Christ (Acts 9), Paul’s whole world was reordered, and he never looked back. The value of his relationship with Jesus became “priceless.” What’s more, he lived like he really meant it.
And for us, it’s more than just giving mental or verbal assent to the “surpassing value” of knowing Jesus. Many of us have been doing that for a long time—and then we go on to live like He is eighth or ninth on the list. Unfortunately in this glitz-and-glamour world, we are far too prone to place great value on all that is temporal and seductive. And believe me, we pay a high price for that. It means that we miss out on the most valuable asset of all—the joy of a deep, abiding relationship with the only One who can meet all of our needs and fill us with His joy. His invitation still stands: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Find time for Him and make His will and His ways your greatest treasure! For what you value will capture your heart (Matthew 6:21)!
From: Through the Bible
Deuteronomy 6:23 (NIV) 23But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.
All through the wilderness wondering, the people complained that God had brought them out to let them die in the wilderness. Someone had their ear. Does someone have yours? God’s intention is to bring you out of the world to bring you into fellowship with Him. The Israelites kept complaining that God was going to let them die in the wilderness. They feared never making it. That was the worst of both worlds. They couldn’t enjoy Egypt nor could they enjoy the Promised Land. All they had was the Desert wandering. When they finally were ready to go in, they had such a lack of faith in God’s ability to conquer their enemies that they requested dying in the desert.
The Apostle Paul wrote that if we have no hope of resurrection, if all we have is here, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. In other words, if this desert wandering is all we have, lets go back to Egypt. In today’s verse God declares that His whole purpose in bringing us out is to bring us in. It is not to take away pleasurable things. It is to give you real pleasures (Psalm 16:11).
God will finish the work He started when He first drew you to Himself. He will change you into His image (Romans 8:29). He will bring you into the Promised Land of unbroken fellowship with Him. We struggle with all the distractions of life and wonder if we will ever get there. He brought you out to bring you in! Don’t get comfortable in this desert, pilgrim.
Meditation: He has brought you out to bring you in. Are you entering in?
Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV) 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Jesus taught that His return would not be in secret. He said it would be more like lightening shining in the east and visible in the west. The prophet Zechariah details some of the earth shaking things that will happen at that moment. Then Jesus warned that no one in heaven or earth knew when that would be. He said that only the Father knew. He gave us signs to look for (see yesterday’s evening devotion). Yet, He taught that it will be a shock to everyone.
Jesus compares His Second Coming to the great flood in the days of Noah. Noah built that ark over a period of time as he preached to the people (2 Peter 2:5). Yet, the people did not listen or even consider that their world was about to end. They were going about their lives, doing the things that people normally do. If you knew the world was about to end, you wouldn’t stop to eat, drink or marry. The last moments would be too precious. Jesus said they knew nothing about what would happen until it came to pass. How could they hear Noah’s preaching and see the great boat and yet know nothing? There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
Jesus has given us signs to look for. When they come to pass, only the righteous will take it to heart and be prepared. Jesus is the great ark. Only those in Him will be ready for the flood that is to come upon the earth. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:15). The world will be going about its self-gratifying ways when destruction comes upon it. Though the message is preached and the warnings are given, only those that are willing will hear. The cares and pleasures of life can deaden our ears to the truth that is preached to us.
Consider: Are your ears willing to hear?