Purity Of Heart

pink-1512231__180     Christians are told to guard our hearts and to live pure and holy lives.  Yet, we live in a time when entertainment is filled with violence, sexual content, nudity,  filthy language, and profane language that takes God’s name in vain. For those who make no claim to seeking God and wanting to be more like Him, watching a movie or a TV show, or playing a video game that includes these things may not create a problem. But for the Christian there is a huge problem in seeing a movie filled with these things. There is a disconnect between out claim to want to be holy and pure like God, and sitting in front of a screen to view a naked woman or a naked man. The claim that we long to be like God and see Him one day is not compatible with our actions.

John Piper * drives this point home  when he writes,

“I want to see and know God as fully as possible in this life and the next. Watching nudity is a huge hindrance to that pursuit. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The defilement of the mind and heart by watching nudity dulls the heart’s ability to see and enjoy God. I dare anyone to watch nudity and turn straight to God and give him thanks and enjoy him more because of what you just experienced.

Jesus gave a warning that a man should not look at a woman with lustful intent, and the man who does this has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Do we really believe that seeing a naked woman on the screen — or a naked man — poses no desires to sin in the minds of Christians?   Can we imagine that Jesus Christ would say “go watch a naked woman or a naked man engaged in a sex scene on screen — that poses no threat to sinning with your heart…go and enjoy.”   Can you seriously imagine that He would say such a thing?”

Christians need to give serious thought to the language they hear in their entertainment. Are we really comfortable with the foul language? With the vulgar and coarse things that are said? Are we really comfortable with hearing the precious name of the LORD taken in vain?

We teach our children the song, “O’ be careful little eyes what you see. O’ be careful little ears what you hear. For the Father up above is looking down in love…”   Do we no longer need to be careful with what our eyes see or our ears hear once we reach adulthood?

We have the responsibility to guard our hearts because from our heart flows who we are.

Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.–Proverbs 4:23

” A good person produces good from the good treasure of his heart, and an evil person produces evil from an evil treasure, because the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”– Luke 6:45

May we all store up good treasure in our hearts, so that from that good treasure we can produce good for the Master. Let us determine to guard our hearts, to keep them pure, to live for King Jesus rather than following the crowd.

If we want to see God, we will guard our hearts and keep them pure.

* This reference to John Piper is not a full endorsement of all he writes or preaches.

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What Is Your Desire?

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The story was told of a wife who was a Christian,and who wanted her husband to become a Christian. She had pleaded with him on many occasions but to no avail. He always seemed to turn a deaf ear to her pleadings.

One day in frustration she asked, “Why do you ignore my pleadings?”

He replied,  “Your life is no different from mine, other than you get up early on Sunday mornings while I sleep in. You laugh at the same jokes that I do. You watch the same movies I do. You get upset at the same things I get upset about. You worry about the same things I worry about. You want more stuff just like I do…honestly, honey, I just don’t see why I need to give up sleeping in on Sunday mornings. I mean other than that our lives aren’t any different.”

His wife opened her mouth to respond but stopped short….what could she say? Everything he had said was true. She wanted to say that those things weren’t important… She wanted to retort “no one is perfect” but knew she was only looking for an excuse.

So, she simply said, “I see”, and quietly walked from the room.

She went into her bedroom and knelt before the LORD. She cried, “Lord, how different do I have to be?” She knew where to find the answer. She opened her Bible. She began to study it in earnest.  Hours later she knelt again, and this time she prayed for forgiveness — not only for not being different from the world around her,but also for not really wanting to be different from the world. She saw the lack of love in her question : “Lord, how different do I have to be?”

Loving someone makes a person act differently. She could see that in other relationships but had been blind to that truth when it came to her relationship with the LORD. Loving God with all her heart would certainly lead to acting differently.

As the days passed by, she changed. No longer did she plead with her husband to become a Christian. When her husband wanted to watch a movie she was no longer comfortable watching, she quietly suggested another one or if he insisted, she would quietly say, “you watch it. I will study my Bible.”  When he was upset, she remained calm. When problems came, she was not anxious for she had learned to trust God.When he yelled at her, she no longer yelled back at him.

One day her husband came to her. “You are different,” he said.

“Yes,” she replied, “I am.”

The story I am told is a true one. I know the first time I heard it, I was struck by the husband’s description of his wife. I had to look at my own life. How different am I from the world?  Does God really make a difference in my life?  I mean a real difference. Am I anxious and worried about the future? Does my temper flare at little things? Are my words uplifting or do my words tear down?  Can people see a difference….or is the only difference…the world sleeps in on Sunday mornings while I get up, and “go to church.”

Am I playing at being a Christian or pursuing a life of holiness?

How different DO I have to be?

“As obedient children, do not be shaped by the desires that used to influence you when you were ignorant. Instead, be holy in every aspect of your life, just as the one who called you is holy.For it is written, ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’ ”  (1 Peter 1:14-16)

How different do I have to be? Notice Peter wrote “do not be shaped by the desires that used to influence you..”  What desires? The desires that shape the world around us: the desire for more and more things, pride in the things I own and in my accomplishments, the desire for entertainment, the desire to get the last word in an argument, the desire to get my way, the desire to be noticed …all summed up by the apostle John in these words, “…the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life…” (I John 2:16)

Instead of being shaped by these desires, we are told: “You must be holy, because I am holy.”  God is holy. To know what holiness looks like, I look at God. I learn from Him, and then I start living like Him in every aspect of my life.

To be shaped by the world’s desires is foolish for the world is passing away along with its desires. (I John 2:17)  To be shaped by the desire to be like The Great I AM is to abide with Him forever. (I John 2:17)

I must look into my heart. What do I desire?  A passing life of worldly desires or eternal life with Deity. My desire will shape who I am becoming…more like the world or more like the God of Heaven and Earth.

Do I truly desire God? My life will reveal the answer.