The word “purity” may make you shudder a bit. You may think of teenage abstinence talks or the endless stack of sins piled up from your past. If we are honest, in our pursuit of purity, we can feel as if we will fail before we even begin. Purity may seem like a standard that you can never live up to. And the truth is, you’re right. Purity is intimidating because we are messy beings. A biblical pursuit of purity is more than abstaining from sexual sin, it’s aligning our hearts, mind, and actions with the person of Jesus. He sets the gold standard of purity—a man who experienced every temptation that we do, yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
What does the Bible say about purity?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains the character of the blessed in the kingdom of heaven. He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). He expands the expectation of purity. Purity is no longer just a measure of faithfulness in marriage. It is a descriptor of the very core of a person—the heart. Our modern perspective of the heart is the center of our emotions. However, in Hebrew, the word for heart is “kardia”—core of our spiritual life, our minds, our affections, and our intelligence. It is the driver of our motivations. The purity that Jesus speaks about here is a life without the filth of the world. It’s as if we are wearing glasses smudged by the temptations and impurities of our life. We must clean these glasses so that we can best see and know our Father in heaven.
Thankfully, we do not do this cleaning in our own strength. The blood of Christ has made us new, and in God’s eyes, our sins have become white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus has cleared our debt (Colossians 2:14). We are already pure. Our pursuit of purity is not to gain or earn salvation but is a response to the abundance of grace we have received through Jesus. Purity in the Christian life is a submission of our will to God’s will. It is obeying convictions and surrendering daily—denying temporary earthly pleasures for the treasures awaiting us in heaven. Do you wash the dishes while grumbling? Do you serve only for recognition? Do your words turn sour behind closed doors? Do you watch things we shouldn’t when no one is around? Our commitment to purity is an act of obedience. Purity is not achieved overnight. It’s an everyday decision to set your mind on the words of Christ, your eyes on the things of Christ, and your hands to the work of Christ.
How the Holy Spirit helps us pursue purity
The pursuit of purity may seem overwhelming. We cannot muster up the strength to be pure on our own, but we are not alone. If we have placed our faith in Jesus, we have an ever-present helper guiding us in our pursuit—the Holy Spirit. He convicts, corrects, and teaches us how to be reflections of Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is illuminated, and His will is made known. We do not have to be intimidated by purity because we are indwelled with the very Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:10–11). By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us to align our priorities with those of God. Is this TV show God honoring? Am I seeking personal gain in this relationship? Are my words reflecting the grace of the gospel? With the help of the Holy Spirit, we gain the discernment to filter our lives through the lens of the Gospel.
Why does purity matter?
If we claim to be Christians, our words and our actions communicate Jesus to the world—either correctly or incorrectly. The grace we extend is only through His grace. The care we provide is only because we are secured in Christ. The love we share is through the abounding love He’s shared with us. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and so through our testimonies and presence in our communities, He will be made known (2 Corinthians 5:20). On the contrary, if we do not pursue purity in our day-to-day habits and routines, we are communicating that Jesus is not worthy of the whole of our lives. If we are honest, many have turned from the Church because of a lack of purity in word and deed within their local church. They’ve watched Christians be hypocrites and liars. They’ve watched us use our faith to loft ourselves above others. Our pursuit of purity proves to the world that Jesus is worthy of a lifestyle of integrity. Let our slates be so clear—so transparent in purity—that others look through us and see Christ.
How to pursue purity
If you are unsure where to begin in your pursuit of purity, you are not alone! Here are a few tips and Scriptures to meditate on.
- Pray for transformation.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” A longing for purity is a longing to look like Jesus. Include this verse in your prayers and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of your life that need refining.
- Take your thoughts captive.
Second Corinthians 10:5 encourages us to, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This verse calls us to squash arguments and thoughts that rise up in our minds that are contrary to God’s Word. We are called to pay attention to our thoughts and motivations, submitting them before His instruction. Realizing the ugliness of our thought life reminds us of our desperate need for Jesus’s grace in each passing moment.
- Pay special attention to what you’re watching.
Ask yourself: Does this TV show/ movie/social media post honor God or encourage me to do good works (Matthew 6:22–23)?
- Pay attention to your words!
Are they building up those around you? What do they say about the condition of your heart (James 3:1–9)?
- Pay attention to your relationships.
Are you lifting your relationships above God? Do you have impure habits in your relationships that cause you to stray from Him? We are called to flee from sin—to run far away and not look back. Set your relationships before the throne of God and trust that He is enough.
- Invite others into your pursuit of purity.
Do you have a bad habit you’d like to break? Allow others into your journey to help hold you accountable. Your commitment to aligning your life with the gospel will be a beautiful example of the gospel’s transforming power in the life of a believer! What a gift that is to those around you!
Additional resources on pursuing purity:
Sweet Friend, You Can Wear the White Dress
Deuteronomy 22-24: Laws Concerning Purity and Care of Others