by Sharnessa Shelton

I'd better quickly recap for you who are new to the site so you're not left completely in the dark ;-). This is the third part of a devotional series I started a while back, a devvtional looking into 5 "P's"; productivity, passion, purity, patience and peace. I dealt with productivity and passion in the last two and today I'm focusing on purity! If you missed the last one, please check out the last two devo's at the archive section.

About the same time that the word 'passion' came to mind [see last my last devotional], the word 'purity' hit me as well. (And that could very well be because of the awesome book by Elizabeth Elliot with the very name Passion and Purity) So I was like, "Cool! Yeah! Purity is something I want to try and live each day in!" I know that no one is or ever will be perfect (until we?re in heaven!), but purity is something that God calls us all to, just as Jesus was. A great scripture showing this perfectly is 1 John 3:3 which says, "And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure."

Now, first I want to say that Jesus' blood cleanses us from ALL sin (doesn't matter WHAT we've done!), if we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, so in that sense we're already pure! COOL!! This because He's declared us righteous!! Wahooooo!! However, there is an on-going thing of being purified as well, and choosing purity; it is OUR choice - to become more like Jesus. It's like the time in the Bible when Jesus is having a meal with His disciples and washes their feet. Peter, firebrand as he exclaims, "Jesus, don?t only wash my feet but my whole body!!". Jesus calmly replies that there is no need for Peter to have a bath, just to get his feet washed. What that?s saying is that we don't need the 'whole' wash again and again, i.e. getting 'saved' over and over. But that, every day, need to get our 'feet' washed, i.e. deal with things that 'blemish' us - to be purifed.

To go along with all of this, there's something I wanted to say about it concerning the small, daily choices we make, such as our conduct, how we act, how we treat others, what we watch, what we wear, what we say, etc. Now, I DON'T want anyone to think that I?m getting all 'legalistic' on you! We?re not called to be in bondage as Christians! We're called OUT of it! But, purity, as old-fashioned as it may sound to some, is something that God is calling us all to in every area of our lives. As it's so simply put at the end of 1 Timothy 5:22," Keep yourself pure."
It doesn't have to do with God keeping good or exciting things from us, it's more because they're things that He knows will damage us and stunt our growth in Him.

As Christians we're called to be Jesus to those around us, but if we're out there doing the exact same things as them going with the flow - then how are they going to see anything different in us? We need to make sure that our talk is matching up with our walk. Of course we all mess up, but God is always there with open arms ready to get us back on our feet and on the move. So please think about what your lives, your actions, your words, your lifestyles, etc, are saying to those around you. Don't you think it's time we raised the standard as Christians? Not that I'm saying we get all 'holier than thou' about things, but the world has GOT to see a difference in us from what they face every day. We're called to be salt and light in this dark and tasteless world. We're called to be in the world but not of it.

Another aspect of purity is how we are purified in character, and one example of this is through trials; through tough times. Sometimes they're caused by our own choices, bad or good, or sometimes they're caused by situations that we have no control over, but God will use those times (if we let Him) to purify us, and to grow and mature us in Him. How exciting is that?! I'm sure that many of you can relate to times when you've really gone through something tough, and looking back you realize how that experience changed you. Sometimes the change is for the better, but sometimes it can be for the worse. It's all about what we make of it, because God?s intention, even though He doesn't necessarily cause the tough times, is for us to lean on Him and draw from Him in those situations, and allow Him to mold us into who made us to be!! Isn't it so cool that He uses those situations for GOOD!?!?! As 1 Peter 1:7a says, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold."

Wow! It's so true isn?t it? Sometimes it can take a stressful or rough situation to really reveal our true colours! There's a saying that I love that says, "A woman is like a tea bag; put her in hot water and you'll see what she's made of." Quite clever, I thought! Of course it's also Jesus IN us, but it's still quite relevant! (And that goes for girls and guys! ; ) ) I SO want to make sure that I turn to Him in those situations rather than trying to work things out of myself! I SO want God to refine my faith!! However, that's something that I'm going to go into depth in another devo, but since it is a big part of purity, I had to touch on it a bit here.

There's also a whole aspect of purity that is SUCH a huge thing on my heart that there's no way I could fit it into one devotional, let alone part of one! But it has to do with relationships, and how we treat people of the opposite sex, etc. So that?s going to have to be a separate one as well!

But to sign off here, I just want to challenge you guys to take a look at your lives and see where purity could become more of a part of it! More than anything, simply let the Holy Spirit point out the areas He wants to work on! That's your best bet!!!