Tuesday, September 29, 2015


God has been stirring my heart lately with the whole idea of purifying my life.  Pure, clean, set a part, different than the world.  I want to have a pure heart… a heart clean from contamination and focused on the things of God.

Have you ever felt like your spirit was dirty?  Imagine you are normally really busy in the morning, but today you decide to spend some special time with God.  You crank up the worship music, open your Bible, and soak in His presence.  

You talk to Him so comfortably and freely.  You confess sin and bear your heart to Him.  When you are finished with your special “quiet time” with God you feel so much better and you feel clean inside.  The day has started out right so you assume it will end well. 

Before you really have a chance to begin your day the phone rings and "dirt" is splattered on you.  You turn your head toward the family room and "dirt" is splattered across the screen of the television.  You hang up the phone and hear your family arguing passionately about meaningless things… more "dirt" is splattered on you and you haven’t even left the house!
This may sound all too familiar to some of you.  “Dirt”… What kind of "dirt" am I talking about?  I’m talking about the kind of “dirt” that can make your spirit feel “icky” inside. Don’t you just love my fancy words. 

Listen to what the Bible has to say about this in James1:27

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans
and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (NLT)

“Refusing to let the world corrupt you”… hmmm.  What does that mean?  Well, in another version it says it a different way… “Keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.” 

So… what I am gathering from this scripture is that if I want to stay spiritually clean, one way I can do this is by limiting the “world’s” influence on my life.

Wow, that’s hard!  We are supposed to live IN the world, but not be OF it.  

Philippians 3:20 says… 
“But our homeland is in heaven…” (NCV).

How do we do this?  How can we live and be an example to others of Christ without letting the world infiltrate our thinking, speech, dress, actions, behavior, and reasoning? 

How can we live pure lives in the midst of an impure culture?

1.     Keep God FIRST
Stay connected with Him.  Read His word (the Bible)… It helps wash your heart clean.  Talk to Him daily… just like you would a friend.  You don’t have to use fancy words when you talk with God.  Tell Him everything… the good, bad, and ugly of each day.   He wants to be a part of it all.  Invite Him to join you in all you do Allow His Spirit to guide your steps Become sensitive to His voice and obedient to His leading.  The more time we spend with God daily, the more we will be able to discern between dirty and clean.

What I mean by this is that God will help guide us into making right choices when it comes to what we choose to allow in our lives and inside of our hearts.  When we attempt to let something in that we shouldn’t, He will let us know.  He will give us a sinking feeling in our guts, a sick turning of our stomachs, or uneasiness within.  That will be His Holy Spirit helping us keep our hearts and lives clean and close to God.

Dirty hearts equal dirty lives.  Eventually the dust and dirt hiding within will seep out for all to see.  There is a scripture that comes to mind that describes this perfectly.   Matthew 12:34 says

“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (NIV)

How can we remain pure in the midst of an impure culture?  Stay close to God.  Take time today to be with Him.  Time in His presence changes our hearts.

Another way to stay pure is by striving to…

2.  Keep your heart CLEAN daily

Things don’t work properly when they aren’t clean.   I have found this to be true with my vacuum cleaner.  I have the kind that doesn’t have a bag and you can really see the dirt flow in as you clean up.  I like the idea of seeing that it is working, but not the emptying it out afterwards part.  I have noticed on occasion that dirt can get backed up in areas I can’t see and then it stops working properly.  It isn’t until I actually sit down and take everything a part that I find a pile of dirt clogging the flow.

Isn’t that so true with our walk with God?  When we don’t take time to keep our hearts clean daily, the flow of God in our lives gets clogged up.  We start to feel funny, God starts to feel a bit distant, and ungodly things start to pour out of our mouths.  Yikes!  Where did that come from?

Just like it took me time I didn’t plan on to clean out the backed up pile of dirt in my vacuum, we need to take time daily to clean our hearts.  The dirt in that vacuum hid in places I didn’t see (piling up), but it still needed to be removed. 

Sin, just like that dirt is really good at hiding in the places of our hearts that we don’t notice.  It is only by choosing to clean our hearts daily, that we might see it (With God’s help of course) and remove it.

How can we clean our hearts daily?  Well, for one we can confess our sins in prayer.  When we keep God first and spend time with Him daily, a natural out flow of this time will be God showing us areas of our lives that might need extra work.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Actually we can take it a step further.

There is a two-part heart cleaning process that can occur during our prayer times, if we let it.  It includes the practice of both “confessing” and “revealing”. 

Confessing” –
In essence this means to recognize the things you have done that are wrong, admit it, and say you are sorry.  Generally we all know our hang-ups and where we fail.  It is when we choose to admit those to God, ask for forgiveness, and strive to change that we truly see the difference.  The process is simple… just share with God your struggles (one by one), tell Him you are sorry for messing up in this area of your life (and really mean it), and ask for His help to change… and for the better.

Revealing” –
When we come to God in prayer we can also ask Him if there are any hidden areas of sin in our hearts (piles of dirt clogging the flow) that He might “reveal” to us.  When He brings them to our mind, we need to confess them to Him and ask for forgiveness.  Sometimes this revelation of our hidden sin can be startling to us requiring a focused effort and possibly accountability to keep it from sneaking back into our lives.  With God’s help we can walk in freedom from the chains of sin that seek to rule our lives.

Cleaning our hearts daily is hard work, but it feels so good to be clean.  Have you ever gotten really dirty before?  Do you remember that feeling?  … Soggy, gritty, uncomfortable, and gross. Now, think back.  What did it feel like in the shower after you were clean?  That is the spiritual experience God wants us to have as we take time daily to clean our hearts.  It’s a refreshing experience!

1 John 1:8-9 says…

“If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” (NCV)

One important ingredient to living a pure life is endeavoring to keep our hearts clean daily.  I challenge you to take time to check in with God today and leave refreshed.

How can we remain pure in the midst of an impure culture?  Stay close to God Keep your heart clean daily.  Wash the dirt of sin away in prayer and ask God to show you areas of your life that need improvement.  Staying pure is hard work, but SO worth it!

Another way to stay pure is by striving to…
3.      EMPTY the “Junk” from your Life

Junk collects quickly especially if you have a hard time letting go of things.  I wouldn’t call myself a “junk” collector or hoarder by any means.  I am simply a “Piler-upper” of things I don’t want to lose.  Big difference!

I guess when I think about it, I mostly pile up the things I want to deal with later.  They seem important at the moment, so I keep them close to me where I can find them when I am ready to sort things out.    

Hmmm… How many times do we do this with God?  We allow things to pile up in our lives that really shouldn’t be there promising to deal with them later, but later never really comes.   We are “spiritual junk” procrastinators!  I know it may sound funny, but it is SO true.  We have good intentions of course, but we just don’t follow through on them.

Keeping that “junk” in our lives that doesn’t belong and really shouldn’t be there, really hurts our relationship with God.   “Spiritual Procrastination hinders our present growth in God.”  It’s really hard to make room for “new” God-things in our lives when our hearts are cluttered full of junk that really needs to go. 

When God prompts us as we are praying, confessing, or seeking more of Him to… set aside, change, or completely remove something from our lives, we need to do it!  He knows best!  Just obey!

When my kids were younger they had this procrastination thing down pat.  We would ask them to do something and they must have thought we implied… do it whenever you want to do it as long as it gets done.  Our interpretation though was very different.  We expected them to:   Do it… IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT AWAY, and NOW! 

We discovered quickly that they didn’t catch our passion for doing their jobs in a timely manner.  For that reason, I decided to come up with a slogan for them to chant to remind them of our desire for them to obey quickly.  This is how it went…. “Just OBEY, No DELAY”… “Just OBEY, No DELAY”.  We said it all the time especially when we asked them to do something for us or if they were moving slowly to follow through.

Maybe we need to imagine God chanting this same phrase to us as He calls us to live a greater life of purity.  “Just OBEY, No DELAY”.   Just give up those bad habits, remove those toxic friends from your life, spend more time in prayer, give social media a break every once in a while to focus more on God.  YOU know what He is calling you to do…. “Just OBEY, No DELAY”.

When we allow spiritual “junk” to remain in our hearts and lives it can corrode our spirits and make it harder for us to hear God, feel God, and draw closer to Him.  Seek to remove all hindrances from your life and focus your heart more on Him.  He will lead you right where you need to be. 

James 4:8 says…

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” (NLT)

The closer we get to God, the more pure our hearts will become… and where else could our hearts be more satisfied?  I challenge you to choose purity today, friend. Give God all of YOU and watch Him do amazing things in your life!  Purity Matters!

Living to leave a legacy,

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