Friday, January 21, 2011

Purity of Heart and Mind

My first post of 2011. Sorry it has been a while, everyone.

Lately, I have been heavily thinking about mental purity. There have been plenty of books written, songs sung, and websites launched that encourages and promotes physical purity. And bravo! But here is a thought: What about the purity of the mind? What about the purity of the heart?

Of course, I am married and many may think that I am free from the "purity challenge." Quite the contrary. In fact, after marriage, purity of every kind is just as vital and important. Yes, I may be married and, therefore, "free" in my physical relationship with my husband, but discipline must still be practiced and self control is still just as important. I must be on guard against the enemy who would love nothing more than to  smear the mud of sin on my marriage, my family, my testimony and my relationship with my King.

You may be wondering what type of tactics Satan can (and will!) use to try to destroy your mental and emotional purity. Here is a small list of things to stay away from:

1. Romance novels. I worked several years at a library in my hometown before I married. I remember so well all the many women - young and old - who would walk in regularly and exchange one stack of romance novels for another. What I came to discover is that most of the women who walked in and began a conversation with us, workers, would never speak positively about their husband. It was not uncommon for them to gush over some celebrity and make jokes as to how they would love to be their wife. I remember picking up a romance novel one day to see what all the fuss was about and was horrified at the explicit, frank, and anti-God language and story lines. What an abomination in the eyes of a holy God! I would encourage every woman - young and old - to abstain from romance novels....even most under the Christian label, as those can (and will) sometimes lure your heart and your emotions to some fictional character instead of toward your husband (even your future one). They will breed resentment and disrespect, both of which are sin. GOD created your husband, your father, and your brothers and though they are far from perfect, God commands us to respect and honor them. Keep your heart pure and reserved for only one.

2. Relationships with boy-crazy friends. If you want to maintain (or build) mental and emotional purity, sometimes it is most wise to keep yourself from being drawn into conversations and close friendships with girls and women who talk constantly of the latest heart throb. It can be so tempting to jump in and agree in their physical appraisal of "this-or-that guy" and then suddenly find yourself talking non-stop about who YOU think is the most handsome hunk on the planet. Now, married ladies, I will say that there is nothing wrong with bragging on your husband. In fact, it is needed in today's society. But do be mindful of how you brag and what words you choose. Be aware of your sisters in Christ who are not married and seeking to keep their focus on Christ. Do not tempt them to be boy crazy or dwell on boyfriends before the Lord's timing.

3. Secular Magazines. Picture this.... you are standing in the check-out line. Your eyes glaze over the magazine rack. What do you see? I'll tell you. You see pictures of women in skin-clad clothes and bikinis, you see headlines that talk of the latest "do's-and-don'ts" of sexual flings, and you see their advice on how to sizzle when you dress, talk, walk, and even sleep! How do you think reading these things affect your mental purity? Where will it lead your mind? If you are single, do you think it would make you dwell on physical relationships and tempt you to be outwardly attractive using their advice? If you are are married, do you think you will find yourself curious to try their techniques and hungry for more info to "spice" up your life? If you are human, then it most certainly will and that is exactly what their agenda is. I would encourage you to keep away from Cosmo, Elle, Glamour, Seventeen, Maxim, Vogue and the like.

4. Immodest dress. Modesty vs. fashion has always been a struggle. When we have curves, there is a desire in us that wants to flaunt them in tight, revealing clothes. But what are our motives for doing this? It could be to attract attention from males but, in so doing, we often lead them into lust, which makes us a stumbling block and the object of their sin. Another reason could be so we can feel attractive and desirable, selfishly thinking of our own beauty instead of considering the needs of our brothers and the enormous amount of spiritual discipline it takes for them to remain pure. Ladies, choose your clothes wisely. Many of the every-day clothes that girls now wear to school and church were the same type of outfits worn by prostitutes in the 80's. Statistics have proved that immodest clothing is one of the top 5 reasons girls become sexually active at an early age; many of them going on to becoming unwed teen mothers. Honor God with your dress. Cover yourself. Adorn yourself in grace and holiness.

5. Movies and Music. Okay, this one is a tough one. I am a girly girl who LOVES a good love story. But lately, I have been challenged in this area. What kind of movies do we watch? In terms of purity, do we own movies that have sexual scenes in them? Do we enjoy movies that promote the sin of fornication and/or adultery? Do we find ourself drooling over the actors or wishing that our husband "was like that"? Those are some questions to ask and tell-tell signs that what we're watching is not of God. And what about the music we listen to? Where does it lead your heart and your mind? What do the lyrics speak of? Is it glorifying God? Or is it glorifying a sinful relationship? Ask yourself these questions and prayerfully consider what God would have you to do. I would reccomend cleaning out your movie and CD shelf and your iTunes library.

Those are just 5 areas that Satan is using to destroy the purity of heart and mind in today's world. There are so many more! I have to be on guard against them. For the sake of my intimacy with Christ, for the sake of my marriage, for the sake of my family and future family, and for the sake of my testimony as a Christian, I must be careful to remain pure, not just in body, but in mind and heart as well.

Ladies, be watchful. Be vigilant. Be aware of the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, the friendships you have, and what you read and put into your mind and heart.

As a wise girl once wrote, "If we can take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (easier said than done; it takes lots of prayer and diversion) than we're on our way to emotional purity." Amen and amen.

Proverbs 4:23
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Romans 12:2
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

2 Corinthians 10:5
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"


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