Friday, September 22, 2017

If We Seek Purity, We Must Flee Temptation

June 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

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Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is serious business. There is a war waging inside our bodies every day. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want” (HCSB). Popular culture is not sympathetic to anyone who wants to pursue any measure of purity. The public cry is “do what you want, when you want” with no mention of the consequences. Television, the internet, and other forms of media are chock-full of lewd material, so we must excise caution in what we watch, hear and read. Despite what the world says, we know there are consequences to our actions. Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, makes it clear that our deeds are eternally significant. “The person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit (Galatians 6:8).

For those of us who desire to be pure, people will question our decision to be celibate. They will question why we avoid certain media, entertainment, and activities. They will misunderstand the reasoning behind our choices. Some will even mock us, but we know our choices are not arbitrary; they glorify our holy God who has redeemed us from sin and death.

To live a life truly pleasing to the One who created us, we have to be intentional about purity. There are things we can do to keep us from external temptations. I’ve compiled a list below that works pretty well for me:

  • Staying away from any media that promotes and glorifies fornication, adultery, crude sexual jokes and innuendos, and anything else that contradicts God’s standards for purity.
  • Refusing to dwell on any sexual thoughts or images that come to mind. It’s normal to think about sex from time to time, but it dangerous to dwell on those thoughts because they will lead us into doing or saying something that’s displeasing to God.
  • Leaving or redirecting a conversation that has focused on crude sexual talk.
  • Dwelling on those things that Paul calls pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8).

It’s so much better to be proactive than reactive. If there is a particular thing we know triggers a desire that we cannot satisfy, it’s best to avoid it all costs.

Temptation in and of itself is not sinful. Jesus was temped in every way, yet He remained sinless. Temptation is like a fire that burns within us.  If we feed it, it will get stronger and lead us into sin. If we starve it, we will experience God’s grace. We should never feel guilty when we are tempted; it’s simply a condition of our humanity. We are never helpless, for Jesus is our Advocate and helps us in our troubles. The Lord says He will give us a way out of temptation (1Corinthians 10:13). He knows how strong it is because He was able to experience what it was like to be human.

The world looks down on purity, but it’s very pleasing in God’s eyes. In fact, He made us for holiness and purity, Ephesians 1:4 reads, “For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.” So, let’s choose to be intentional about being pure and flee from temptation. Let’s not leave our purity to chance or the sway of our emotions and desires. Let’s honor God with our minds and bodies because they were bought with the precious blood of our Lord and Savior.

 

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Comments

3 Responses to “If We Seek Purity, We Must Flee Temptation”
  1. The problem with dealing with temptation this way is that people are not going to hear the Gospel.I agree that we need to be wise in our contacts with the world and its content but! I spent many years working on construction sites and if I had followed this advice I would have had no ministry at all to my fellow workers.Probably 80% of all talk in that context is rude, crude and unclean.If you want to reach sinners you are going to have to interact with them and impurity is part of who they are. Jesus said they can’t help it; a bad tree produces bad fruit.The monks who fled from the world into monasteries made the same mistake. Remember Jesus ate and drank and socialised with sinners. Acts 15v8,9 teaches a pure heart received by faith. Titus explains that for those who have a pure heart all things are pure. The gift of inner purity from Jesus cannot be overcome by the worlds uncleaness. The love of Christ constrains us to go out to the impure and unclean, those that Jesus called sick needing a physician. If we have the experience of a pure heart the puny uncleaness of the world will not be a bother.

  2. L. Denise Patterson says:

    Thank you for your comment! I definitely believe that as Christians we have to engage with unbelievers so that we can witness to them. I’m not really sure where you read that I suggested that Christians avoid contact with those outside of the body of Christ. I did mention leaving or redirecting a conversation that was focused on crude or inappropriate topics. That doesn’t necessarily mean we stop engaging with those persons permanently. I pray you have a tremendously blessed day!

  3. Thanks for the blessing..I need all that I can get!! I am pursuing this a bit because I have a thing about our Christian teaching being stuff that really works. For example; if I am in a group of six at a table in a coffee shop and I am the only Christian,I will not be able to leave a conversation or redirect one. Sitting in a lunch shed with ten tough construction workers presents me with the same situation. It does not work in real life to be trying to redirect conversations or to somehow be trying to remove yourself from unclean talk. The world is full of uncleaness and I don’t believe the way to handle it is to be continually occupied in trying to dodge it all the time with a lot of human self effort. I worked with a self employed steel worker a while back, just the two of us together each day. He knew I was a Christian and that I did not swear etc etc. Didn’t bother him a bit, it was dirty jokes and crude talk all day every day.I could not get away from that, I had to handle it according to my original comment. I was open in talking about the Lord and I believe I influenced him strongly over the 3 months we were together.Jesus words,’It is not that which comes from the outside that makes a man unclean but that which comes from his inner heart’ are, I think, applicable to what we are talking about. Self effort is not the answer to a victorious Christian life whether inward or outward. Receiving the new Creature in Christ and being at rest in this world is the way to go. Blessings to you also.

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