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…
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
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.
“Never listen to your critics. They aren’t qualified to usurp the still, small, voice that speaks in the silence between your own thoughts.”—Russ Walden
It takes courage to write truths in fiction; write what hurts. To contextualize emotions, the struggles; tapping into the raw nature and grind of real life and transposing them into an altered universe. The result might not represent a true existence verbatim, but can harbor the angst, dilemmas, struggles, and sicknesses of hope-depleted hearts in order to instill hope in the end. It can be scary sometimes to release a story that holds a little more truth than you’d care to admit. Makes one feel vulnerable. But it’s always the still, small voice, a reminder that what’s written might be intended for one person only. And that one person to get it, feel moved and encouraged by your labor of love, washes over any potential collection of critics, large or small.
Writing with boldness, listening with care…
“Forgive, Release, Bless…” It’s a mantra that’s grabbing my attention wherever I look and listen.
We can say we forgive someone. But if we then turn around and complain to another about how something was unfair, or someone hurt, stole, cheated or abused us, then we haven’t really forgiven. We’ve developed a grudge. That kind of emotional baggage gets weighty, a burden to carry around and unpleasant for everyone.
Writing is sometimes my therapy. I write a lot. Some I publish, some I pen under different pseudonyms, some go unpublished because it was the process that I had to go through to learn and grow, climb out of my cesspool. While creating another’s wilderness in story-form, I often go through my own spiritual wilderness. It can be tough sometimes. But the typed expressions help me breathe again, rejuvenate. I’ve had a lot of underwater dreams lately involving murky water, flooded caves, barriers, and scuba cylinders gone defunct. In one, I shout distinctly (because I can do this, it’s a dream, and I’m not a diver) to someone indistinct, “Breathe, brother, breathe!” Then there are explosions where barriers blow away, water clears, and breathing is miraculously unassisted by flung-away tanks, and I hear, “Live, sister, live.”
The tombs of our past regrets and afflictions teach us and model us for brighter futures. But some of us have focused on the tombs far too long (note to self). It’s time to step out of caves with flint-eyed focus on what’s ahead, and the life-giving promises thereof. This hinges around forgiving to where we can truly release the damage of our hearts, let go, and bless the damagers!
Even if you’re trapped in the middle of toxic, dysfunctional, or complicated situations, or have suffered inner turmoil for a long period. Maybe over decades you’ve experienced relational distress, cultural oppression, or unending sick-of-it conditions (whatever “it” might be), and you’re weary. Dead inside. Yet your sluggish legs somehow get you from point A to point B in a day, or you’re trying to move underwater wearing too many weights, burdens, baggage.
Matthew 18:18 tells us that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. That’s the one thing we can control when we’re stuck. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, Luke 6:45.
One of my favorite Hebrew names for God is El Roi. It means, “the God who sees me.” When we are alone, aching, forgotten by everyone else, cast aside by society, suffering in solitude, or feeling invisible, it’s the name we use to say, “but God sees.” He does. And with faith (our believing without seeing) we trust, knowing that God’s promises endure. He cares. The muck we wade through does not endure unless we allow it. So, keep hope alive in the secret chambers of your heart. Make the petitions of your lips daring prayers to El Roi, the God who sees, and Yeshua/Jesus, our guardian. Embrace the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit, our infuser (regulator?) and comforter. Hold fast to the Word, our way-maker, and the protractor for navigating uncharted areas.
I’ve spoken to others who sense a current spiritual movement or theme. Feels like a season of cultivation, and of internally letting go, despite circumstances, for walking into a new era. “Forgive, release, bless,” I hear again. Forgive the wrongdoer, cancel out the crippling, and bless. Following that, I hear, “double portion” where Increase marries Wisdom, because a greater harvest is looming.
God’s blessings are irrevocable. Even if they fall dormant for a time, they will flourish again and better than imagined. Wherever you are, whoever you are, here’s to new beginnings, fresh seasons, big visions, strong clarity, and abundant joy beginning in the heart and bubbling up out of your mouth. Breathing words that heal and help you walk into the freedom of your greatest dreams fulfilled and hopes restored.
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...