Last week, I posted a wonderful quote from Mabel Hale’s “Beautiful Girlhood” and discussed holiness. For the next three posts, I would like to talk about purity and how it is a part of holiness.
1 Corinthians 7 describes unmarried young ladies as being in a very different situation from married women, because they are free to be holy (set-apart) for God in body and spirit. That means, so long as you are unmarried, you are the exclusive property of God. It is as if God has put His mark on you that says “All Rights Reserved”. You reserve no rights of your own, not even to marry, unless it is according to His perfect, wonderful will. You live for God, to glorify Him through your life and your body.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1Co 6:19-20 KJV)
One of the areas in which we must be pure is with regard to our bodies. Chastity is physical purity – keeping of our bodies. But purity goes beyond chastity. You see, man looks at our outward appearance, condition and actions but God looks at our heart.
We need to protect our heart, to keep watch over it. It is natural for our heart to be full of desires, but we need to surrender them to our Heavenly Father and not allow them to cause us to sin the areas of lust and idolatry. In the days of our youth, we must learn how to overcome and we must mature into strong women who can resist evil.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (Jas 1:12-15 KJV)
The dangerous thing about desire is that it can develop into full-blown idolatry. The sin of idolatry is not only committed when we exalt something above God. Sin is committed when we disobey the Greatest Commandment, and have any love and desire for anything else other than God or apart from God. The Gospels teach us that we cannot even love our family above God (Matthew 10:27-29). No, God must be our first and only love. It is through God’s amazing, sacrificial, love for this world (John 3:16) that we can love others.
Why is this so important? It is important because human love is selfish. We naturally love others for our own benefit and for our own satisfaction. But the only love that can benefit others and is pleasing to God is the love of Christ, the love which led Him to the cross and the love that radiated from the cross when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1Jn 2:15-16 KJV)
We cannot love the world. We cannot love anything that is in the world, especially not ourselves. If we love anything other than the Father-that-loves, that means the God’s love is not in us. The love of the world is the love of lust, of pleasure to the sense and of pride.
What is lust? What is temptation? What is desire?
Lust is the desire within us “for pleasure that wars in our members”. This desire within us is our enemy, for it is not from God, but from ourselves. The lust within us tempts us, and we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed into sin. The end result of sin is inevitably eternal death.
When we consider our desires, we must put them to the ultimate test – am I willing to love God above all? Is this desire part of loving God? What if God does not approve of my desire?
Even if our desire is natural and profitable, it must still be tested by the cross of Christ. For example, Abraham naturally desired a son and God desired to give it to him. However, it was a long and arduous journey, and even when Abraham has his Son, God required that Abraham relinquish even his only, precious, beloved, son to Him.
What happens when we refuse to allow God to deal with us, and we try to displace our desires, or justify them? We fall away from God. We have fallen into sin and idolatry.
What do we do with our desires? What do we do with our heart? There is only one answer – surrender completely to God. You must let God reign in every single area of your life. There is nothing you can withhold from Him, and often, the very area in which He wants to deal with us is the desire we cherish the most.
The heart of a Bat Mitzvah is one that loves God, that is circumcised, pure, holy, and upon which is written God’s Torah. Purity is holiness in mind, body and spirit. There is nothing as important as having a heart full of love for God. Our thoughts and emotions will then have the security of being set on the spiritual things of heaven (Col 3:1-3), and be guarded by our love for God. We will be so full of desire for God that all other impure thoughts and emotions will be banished.