“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7
In this reflection let’s reflect on the purity God desires us from His people.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
A pure heart is devoted to doing God’s Holy Will, which is to LOVE. A pure heart has a singled minded focus on pleasing God without concern for the price we might have to pay or the sacrifices we have to make. As God purifies our hearts we find ourselves filled with gratitude and generosity, acknowledging God’s abundant grace and providence. As we begin to recognize the many blessings in our lives, we become mindful of the need to give back to those less fortunate.
Jesus died to purify us our sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I like to think of souls as the “God’s Chalice” consecrated to God for His glory. The precious chalice becomes defiled as we sin and the only way to purify this vessel (the human soul) is through the Sacred Blood of Jesus. Jesus forgives us and purifies us and gives us His Holy Spirit to bless us and sanctify our lives.
All good works begin with a seed of inspiration from God. The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, fills our hearts and minds with desire to please and serve God. This inspiration is selfless and does not consider ‘what’s in it for me’ but rather ‘how can I please God’.
Pure intentions give birth to pure choices. These pure choices give God glory and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23
I like to think of my life as a ‘tapestry’ that we weave ‘one choice at-a-time’. Each day we are called by God to live out His holy will and to love God and one another. Even the smallest tasks offered to God for His glory can please Him, demonstrating that we live this life for His good pleasure.
PURE EYES and PURE BODIES
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2: 15-16
Jesus teaches us that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Jesus gives us a dignity that enables us to look at one another with love, not lust. It is a dignity that comes from our relationship and communion with God. The Deity helps us to become people of love that are capable of managing our sensuality/sexuality.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8
As children of God, God calls us to read and understand His Holy Word as spoken in the Bible. The more we contemplate the Holy Scripture the purer our thoughts will become.
“Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as Christ is pure.” 1 John 3: 2-3
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God’s thoughts are to help us to prosper and to be witnesses of His love in the world. The more we contemplate God’s holy will, the more likely our pure thoughts will give birth to true love.
“The LORD detests evil plans, but he delights in pure words.” Proverbs 15:26
“The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3: 5-6
Let us pray for God to purify our speech and to give us pause in times when we feel provoked to anger so that we don’t express ourselves in ways we may later regret.
Pure words must proclaim truth not lies. Let us pray for the grace to express ourselves truthfully and compassionately. I can at times be guilty of being ‘brutally honest’. I need God’s help expressing myself with the loving patience He desires.
PURE PRAYER AND PURE WORSHIP
It is common for people to pray in times of distress, but I believe ‘pure prayer’ must be persistent and not self-centered and not solely in times of need.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
God wants us to repent of our sins and to come to Him with humility acknowledging our need for His saving grace.
God sees through hypocrisy, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13
Jesus wants our hearts and nothing short of a heart full of longing for Him will satisfy Him. Our Lord Jesus is a ‘jealous God’ who does not want ‘idols’ to be our focus. Sometimes our pursuit of ‘career success’ and ‘financial wealth’ can separate us from God. “…You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
We are called to witness to God’s love and be charitable to those in need:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Our prayer and worship must be full of trust thanking God for His infinite mercy and salvation through Our Lord Jesus Christ. God desires that we be full of faith, hope and love.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
We must receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist with reverence, with wonder and with awe remembering the instructions of St. Paul: “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
“Conventional wisdom” is a body of ideas that the public tends to accept, but this collective mindset is not necessarily ‘pure wisdom’. For example, in many places in the world abortion, prostitution, gambling and pornography are legal and readily accessible, but this is not God’s will and it is not wisdom born of the purity and holiness of God.
Pure wisdom comes from God:
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
In military strategy we often hear of the ‘pre-emptive strike’ as a way to eliminate one’s enemies before they attack us, but Jesus teaches us to: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44
Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit, fueled by knowledge and understanding of God’s Holy Will. If we want to find ‘pure wisdom’ then we must look to God’s Holy Word for guidance and instruction. Pure wisdom will lead to pure justice and only pure justice will satisfy the perfect righteous judgments of God.
I believe it is ‘pure wisdom’ to conceive of new ways to educate all the world’s children, affordably and effectively. I believe in today’s information age we have an opportunity to create an ecosystem of digital learning solutions that will enable poor children to learn with the same tools that the rich learn with. This would equalize learning opportunities across the globe. See this link for more on this https://passionofchrist.ca/renewing-the-face-of-the-earth/
Loving and serving God gives birth to a deep sense of personal fulfillment. This ‘pure joy’ endures and is different from the temporary happiness we experience when we are ‘having fun’ or ‘being entertained’. Pure joy can exist in good times or in bad times, in sickness and in health.
Living in an awareness of the holy presence of God and in holy communion with Him enables us to live joyfully in the moment as we keep our eyes on the eternal horizon and eternal promises of God.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
PURE LIVES AND PURE LOVE
A pure life is the work of God assisting His people in walking persistently in His light. It requires that we dedicate ourselves to understanding and doing God’s holy will. As we persistently surrender to God’s Holy Spirit inspiring us to love, to forgive, to help and inspire one another we will become witnesses of God’s pure love.
Pure love is God’s love for His people: it is selfless and requires sacrifice.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3: 16-17
Let’s be true friends of Jesus, true disciples committed to being His instruments of change in a world so desperate for God’s saving grace.
Please join Christians all over the world that are uniting everyday to remember the Passion of Christ and pray as One Body of Christ for the Holy Spirit to renew our world and give us pure hearts capable of true unconditional love! Learn more about A Peaceful Revolution in the Name of Jesus Christ here.