Friday, August 30, 2013

Pursuing Purity

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:3 (NIV)

It was “Ask the Youth Leader Night” for the kids at church, and everyone was putting their questions into the hat. The evening always provided interesting discussion centered on questions about faith, the Bible, and everything in between. Tom pulled the first question out of the hat as all eyes focused on him.

He glanced at the question on the piece of paper and paused for just a moment. Then he said, “Here’s a dating question, it says ‘How far is too far?’” Without much hesitation, he started right in. “You see, here’s the problem: This is really the wrong question. The right question is how far away from trouble’s door can I remain?”

Tom’s astute answer was right on. Too many folks ask the wrong question. They wonder how close they can get to the fire without actually getting burned…when they should be more concerned with staying as far away as possible from the fire! Scripture uses the same object lesson.

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? Proverbs 6:27-28 (NIV)

Purity is the total absence of contaminants. As an example, the purity of gold is measured in carats. The purest gold is 24 carats or roughly 99% pure gold. Eighteen carat gold would be 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals. The point is that if you want the purest gold, you need to keep all the other impurities out.

Is there anything in your life that has become an avenue to impure thoughts or actions? TV? The internet? Books? Video games? A particular relationship? A certain style of music? If you want to maintain a pure life, then it might be time to make some radical changes to avoid being burned.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Things Above

Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

My day is already filled up and it hasn’t even begun yet.  The car needs to be washed and vacuumed out and there’s an important NBA game on at 6.  The kitchen faucet is dripping indicating a leak somewhere and a possible trip to the hardware store.  It’s time again to clean out the garage and there are some things that need to be returned at the mall.  Oh and yes if there’s time the wind has blown the back patio full of leaves and it needs to be swept again. 

Sometimes it seems like we just go from one day to the next filling up every moment with so many “pressing” matters.  Life goes flying by and we get caught up in its whirlwind and all too often the first things to go are the very things that keep us focused on eternal matters.  Things like spending time with our heavenly Father.    

The truth is that even Jesus would occasionally slip away from the crowds or the business of His life to spend time with His Father.  So if even Jesus needed time with the Father then I suspect I do too.  It’s one thing that helps me set my mind on things above.

Sure, getting the garage cleaned is important and so is the NBA game but sometimes all of these important things can swallow up a whole day.  Sometimes I get to the end of the day and realize that I haven’t even talked to my heavenly Father and I know I need that to get my perspective realigned.  So today I’m resolved to spend some time with God and get my thoughts on things above before the business begins. 

Luke 5:16 (NIV)
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.