Thursday, March 18, 2010

Partnering in Prayer - A Lenten Devotion - Day 30 - Staying Pure

Day 30 – Thursday
Staying Pure

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior (Psalm 24:3-5).

Praise God—our church, which has had reddish-brown water for as long as I can remember, finally got a new water filtration system this week! Now, we can look forward to crystal clear, pure drinking water. I’m so excited about it, for several reasons.

First, even though the water tested clean, and free of bacteria, etc, the muddy-looking water just comes across wrong to visitors. They might not know that the water is good to drink, and they assume that we’re the kind of people who go around drinking dirty water. Who wants to go to church with dirty-water-drinkers?

Second, we can look forward to bathroom and kitchen fixtures that are unstained by the crimson water. If I trace my genealogy, I’m from the Scottish Napier clan. Our motto is “Sans Tache,” meaning “Without Stain.” So I look forward to our unstained fixtures.

Finally, our plans for the new building include showers, for use whenever the church might be needed for an emergency shelter, or to house missionaries, or whatever other showerly purpose we can think of. (Maybe I’ll threaten to do baptisms in there if we don’t get a baptistery put in.) I’m sure nobody would want to take a shower in muddy-looking water. So I’m really glad we’ve got this new filtration system in place. Now the water we drink and wash in will be pure.

More important than pure water is a pure heart. For similar reasons. First, even if our heart is pure but our actions don’t match the Spirit of God within us, then outsiders will look at us and wonder about the truth of our testimony. Second, if our hearts lack purity, we find ourselves stained with sin. Thirdly, no matter how much we bathe, we can’t get clean if our hearts aren’t pure. In How to Live a Holy Life, C.E. Orr writes:

The important question, then, is, “How can I have a pure heart?” Hearts are made pure by the blood of Jesus. Then comes the command, “Keep thyself pure.” That the heart may be kept pure, it must be kept filled with what is pure. To keep darkness out of a room, we need only to keep it filled with light. Carefully closing up every crevice will not suffice if the light goes out. Darkness will be present. But simply keep the room filled with light, and no effort is required to keep darkness out. In like manner no effort need be made to keep impurity out of the heart and keep the heart filled with that which is pure.

But what is pure? “The word of God is pure, as silver tried in a furnace of fire, purified seven times.” “Thy word is very pure; therefore thy servant loveth it.” “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” and your heart will be kept pure. The Psalm-writer said, “thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.” Here is the only way to a sinless life. Keep the heart filled with the Word of God. It is the way to live as the Bible reads. To have a nicely bound volume of the Scriptures lying on the center table will not keep the life sinless. One must have the Word in our heart.
While it is up for debate whether Christians can ever get to the point where we can live sinless lives, there’s no doubt that purity is our goal. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” When we get to Glory, certainly we will attain to this. But what I have found is that as I grow in faith, as I fill my heart with the things of God, so my behavior improves as well. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” What a great goal—having all I need for purity, because all I want is God! I pray that as you pray, as you grow closer to God, you have all you need to resist temptation and live a pure, holy life.

No comments: