Purity: What It Is
The dictionaries will tell us that purity, a noun, means “not dirty” or “free from contamination”; unadulterated, uncompromised; faultless, moral, and chaste.
With people, who then is pure? Absolutely nobody.
We are veined with darkness, born into sin with selfish natures. Disobedient as sheep gone astray, each turning to his own iniquity. Even the Apostle Paul said he was unspiritual, carnal, and sold to sin (Romans 7:14).
Often, I hear how a person admits to having done too much wrong for the Lord to want them. Bad history or choices, afflictions, keeping us from serving the One True God of purity and goodness. Maybe regrets of a tainted past keep regurgitating like wounds, sharp thorns that won’t go away. Living in a fallen world means there is a division between soul and spirit. Yet it’s the Word of God—which is Spirit and alive—that is our source for clean-living (Hebrews 4:12). We can’t do it on our own. And the living Word doesn’t just sit there… it moves, breathes, transforms; therefore, requires our active pursuit and absorption.
It’s an old and effective ploy of the enemy to keep us stagnant. Prohibit us from moving forward into freedom by flinging at us hisses of guilting, shaming, and regret. Nagging that we are weak in the body or corrupt at the heart, and it’s pointless to fight the next dirty urge.
I would suggest viewing purity as an action verb and not a noun. Purify: “To cleanse, or rid of impurities. To free from guilt or sin.” We grow in purity.
Go to the source, the Word of God. That’s our aim. For “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6). “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9). How about, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22).
That’s something to savor, isn’t it? Obedience. Obedience to the truth, to the only unblemished one, Jesus, who fills us with himself, making us pure, for the Lord surely wants us, his precious ones, close to him. This includes those who already made a commitment to faith in him. We don’t accept forgiveness for our sins then just sit there. Life is hard and we all still falter, so it takes a daily renewal of mind. I would suggest the verb form of obedience here. Obey: “an act or instance of obeying.” Just as we deliberately fall into an immorality (it’s a choice, always a choice), we can be deliberate about reading/viewing the Word. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).
In this age of instant gratification, and where immodest boastfulness and temptation come at us in bombarding fashion, the struggle is strong for anyone who wants to live a clean life. But the same troubles have existed in every generation. It’s tough, the pressure, especially if one has succumbed to a form of enticement often, that it’s become a persistent pattern or addiction. But it’s not impossible to overcome, not when we have the miracle-worker manifesting in our lives.
The Word is also our shield, our protector. Through the Word, we find sanctity. It is our cleanser and healer. Here is a helpful link I found providing an array of scriptures on Being Pure.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). I want to be that person. I want to see God.
His Word, beginning with His Word…
I have a fascination with names and study them either for my stories or for fun. I adore the names of God, for there are many and they are multi-faceted. We can gain insight into the nature of the Almighty by digging deeper into just one of his names. Some of my favorites are Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals), Elohim (Creator), El Roi (The God Who Sees Me), Echad (The One God), and YHWH (I Am).
Valued, too, are the names of people. A few lovely examples are Sarah (Princess), Peter (Rock), Matthew (Gift of God), Mayim (Water—and a lively Jewish dance!), and Anthony (Priceless One). I esteem even the short forms of names such as T.O.N.Y. and consider a suitable connotation (The One Named by YHWH).
Sometimes, the Lord will give you a name of someone with whom you will meet and connect with in the future, a Word of Knowledge naming, so to speak. You can find an example of this in Acts 9:10-12:
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
God can do anything. If we make ourselves receptive to his voice and lean in to listen, eagerly pursuing him, he’ll make his will known and bring clarity as things move forward. I love this mysterious manner in which he sometimes speaks. It can affirm his direction, instill hope, and shed the cloak of a Doubting Thomas (Thomas means Twin, by the way).
The Lord has also renamed people based on a calling, experience, or transition from one aspect to another. Names can be interchangeable or hold more than one meaning. Pet names are amusing, too. What we call others matters. In fact, it’s a solid practice to avoid adverse name-calling no matter how ugly a situation gets; curses and blessings and all…
What we are called is precious and meaningful; delightful and significant. In everything, even through your name, may you find joyful blessings wonderful YOU!
Have you noticed how many people, especially aging people, like to talk about their aches, pains and physical problems? Sometimes there’s even a little pride like comparing heroic war wounds or something: “You think that’s bad? Well, get a load of this,” kind of exchange, as a person proceeds to pull up a pant leg and roll down a sock for the big reveal. As I age, the more I hear such things, have taken part of such things, and yet depart from these discussions less cheerfully. If you haven’t known an individual, or clusters of acquaintances complaining about health issues, you’ll most likely see plenty of posts and pictures on social media. There’s also the constant campaign of ads and commercials on medications. I think it’s safe to say there’s brokenness in our society over health, but the overwhelming need to chew over conditions without end can be equally draining.
I’m not referring to the serious diseases and terminal illnesses, afflictions and real medical emergencies that require our understanding and compassion, and that can also expand our testimonies. I mean the day-to-day discussions that seem to vie for center stage when they don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. Maybe it’s not you doing the talking, but you’d lived with a hypochondriac, or worked with a malingerer, for years; that can be its own sort of burden. The negative concentration after a great length of time can be a real drag, when everything about a person, or that comes out of their mouth, is about their ailments, mild, moderate, or imaginary. It's like a verbal mountain of affliction, and you’re caught on its strange and precarious ledge between feeling numb and hypersensitive. Whether it’s you or someone else, aside from trying to fix sincere problems or addressing them with prayer, dwelling on them can be a thought ravager and praise stealer.
God is a healer and restorer. He also desires our focus and attention. I’m not in denial that with aging comes decaying; this curse came with the Fall, our own undoing, that we all must endure. But it’s come to the forefront of how much I don’t want to focus on the process of pains but on praise. A small example would be if someone asked me how my day was going, and I answered, “Well, I got this pain in my hip, and when I move my wrist this way it pops, and I didn’t sleep very well last night…” and then junk is on the table. I don’t want to behave that way. Even if I’m hurting, I want to suck it up, work through it if I can, and not spread the psychological residue, the “crown” of physical discomfort. Instead, have an answer ready on my lips, “My day is good because God is good all the time. Praise the Lord. How are YOU?” Or “I’m still kickin’, thank the Lord–and thanks for asking! How’s YOUR day going?” I don’t want to whittle an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day by dwelling on problems, especially my problems. And if I need prayer, then why not just ask for it, then move on with thankfulness? Some days, I have a spring in my step. Some days, eh, not so much. I am learning the fine line between when to ask for (or offer) prayer and keep quiet being careful not to complain.
So when I’ve caught myself lately near joining the valetudinarian collective (such as beginning my last blog by explaining my recent bouts, and longing for my slipped youth), I hear the Lord say, “Stop. In your weakness, I am made strong,” with emphasis on WHO is made strong. The next time I’m feeling blue about getting older and dealing with aged issues (could be again tomorrow!)—the magic word, “Stop,” is followed by “Praise you, Lord. Prepare me for the best years of my life!” And also, to take special care to reporting glorious healings and answered prayers!
If you are upwards of age 50, I hope you embrace words of praise over pain. It’s okay to ask for prayer; we’re supposed to support each other and give good ear to listen with compassion and kindness. Give and receive. But at certain points, we might do well to fine-tune our focus, redirecting our thoughts from our bodies to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals. This is one I’ve heard a thousand times, but it never gets old: let go and let God. From the heart, out of the mouth, may we strive to put the Lord first in all things and linger there.
And this concludes my two- day/blog posts on age and body. I’m moving on.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”–Psalm 42:11
Future for the Aged
I’d had good luck in health without so much as a cold in a very long time. I guess you can say viral villains caught up to me in September when I got the flu followed by Covid. Knocked me off my feet. At one point I straggled to a mirror for a look-see, and muttered, “Aw, snap, this ain’t pretty.” At 52, I’m showing my age, and it’s not only when I’m sick. I got to thinking about these things while I was down. Although I stay active, I’ve learned I’m not as spry as I used to be. I used to be physically strong (for a five-feet-three-inch female, anyway), now I’m not as strong. I used to be limber, now I’m not. I’m the same person, just older, grayer, softer, rounder; and I’m tested with an old back injury.
Not for the faint of heart, yet it happens to all of us, aging. Gloom threatened to set in during my September stint; or you could call it fatigue, frustration, gut-punch, whatever. My thoughts drifted toward how my youth was disappearing; the best years have gone. But I got an instant rebuke from the Lord, who said, “No, the best years are yet to come, they are just ahead of you! Have you forgotten what I’ve promised you?” I had in that moment. “Your latter days will be better than your prior days, for I have a job for you to do—the biggest yet—and I will not only give you what you need and more, renewing your strength, increasing your joys, but I will excessively restore what the enemy has stolen in past years and seasons. I have so many gifts in store for you!” He also made a point of saying, “Let me remind you that this word is not just for you.” I had a hunch, because he often reminds me, so I’m sharing.
Psalm 103:5 came to mind, “Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
I pondered on the themes and attributes of the eagle. Eagles are resilient, fearless, have keen eyesight, long lifespans, are strong and majestic, faithful, nurturing; represented in scripture to symbolize the righteous, rejuvenation, divine promises, vision, leadership, and more.
Here’s another more renown verse (Isaiah 40:29-31): “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
While we’re at it, I read a few others dealing with the aged and aging. I’m sure there are exhaustive Bible studies on elders, purpose, and hot ministry. Because even if our bodies rebel here and there, or on some days everywhere, if you’re called, HE covers. Age is just a number, and God’s vision is eternal.
Ruth 4:15: “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”
Job 42:12: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Deuteronomy 34:7: “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
Hosea 2:15: “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Joel 2:28: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams…”
The future isn’t just for the young and swift, not in God’s eyes. The future is for the aged, as well. Many are called. I believe we are approaching another, and maybe the last, Great Harvest, and the righteous of the Lord doing his work include on-their-toes happy elders: Yes, Sir! Yes, Ma’am!
Tomorrow, I plan on posting another age- and health-related blog. I hope you come back to check it out. In the meantime, fly like an eagle.
We can settle in a place of peace, regardless of what’s going on around us. It might be our nature to desire delineations, even if we dive deep in the Spirit. We might want to see above the surface, or how far to the floor. We might yearn for a glimpse of what’s around or ahead of us. We think we need explanations. Lines and restrictions can give a sense of security… or control. But what if God is asking us to abide in the depths of his fathomless grace? To just linger in his presence, in stillness, even if it’s dark and we can’t see as far as our own hands in front of us? To truly, wholly, trust in him, his mercy--just trust. A hurricane can rip over the surface and destroy everything in its path; impacting everything as we know it; perhaps ridding the familiar or comfortable. But in trusting him, in letting go and allowing him to sweep through our circumstances, our lives, our hearts; we can all the while abide in the depth of his peace, in calm. We can remain in an immovable space, a divine place; one of intimacy and confidence in the God of Glory who speaks to the storms. Instead of the storms threatening to destroy us, we watch them as they shift and scream away at his whisper. All that’s left is what was there all along. Peace, calm, assurance. To trust at a place in the present, where neither height nor depth nor anything can separate us from his love (Romans 8:39). May you abide in his immeasurable peace.
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...
RETURN MY HEART