We will start with a few definitions.
Moral has to do with right and wrong behavior. Pure is free from moral fault or guilt, marked by chastity, which is personal integrity. Pure contains nothing that does not properly belong and where the inside mirrors the outside.
As the title suggests, this article will be about doing right and being free from moral fault and guilt, living a life of integrity, and keeping our inside and outside free of anything that doesn't properly belong.
Notice what scripture says about being pure. Blessed are the pure in heart (Matt 5:8). That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere ‘pure’ and without offense till the day of Christ (Php 1:10). Think on things that are pure (Php 4:10). Keep thyself pure (1Ti 5:22). Revelation 19 says the pure in heart shall see God. Psalm 24:3-4 asks the question of who shall see God. The answer is he that hath clean hands and a pure heart. In other words, it is the people who are clean inside and out that will enter His presence and see God.
Being morally pure will not happen today without strong determination and discipline. It has always been this way, but even more so today with the rise of technology and the availability of evil at our fingertips.
Sexual sins are not foreign to conservative churches. In fact, they are not foreign to any people of any race. We cannot relax and let down our guard and suppose that our children will be safe from the evils of society and our humanity. We must show by example and teach our children and youth if we expect them to stay clean in this corrupt society. We cannot assume that if a person dresses a certain way that all is well on the inside. The story is not told fully by the outside. The Pharisees made the outside look good while the inside was full of corruption. In Matthew 23:26, Jesus said, Cleanse first the inside of the cup and platter that the outside may be clean also. We, too, should give primary attention to heart issues. When the heart is clean, then and then only will the outside be able to be cleansed.
I John 1:6 says if we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness (light on outside and darkness on the inside), we lie and do not practice the truth. Internal darkness will always destroy fellowship and kill relationships—every time.
The message here is intended to be a message of hope, not gloom. If you have a hidden dark spot, confess it and get rid of it, you can be free! It is possible to be free from the clutch of Satan and live an open, transparent life with joy in your soul. You don't need to go through life trying to hide the darkness of evil. Jesus wants to forgive and heal.
Satan is so cruel. In John 10:10, Jesus said the devil wants to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to steal your purity, kill your character, and destroy all godly relationships. His interest is to break up your home, destroy your respect and send you to hell. All the while, he is luring you through the lust of your flesh, with his sword drawn to bind and kill you.
Moral sins are so shameful and hard to admit. The natural thing is to try to hide what we know is wrong. Children who learn to hide wrongdoing early in life naturally develop into youth who hide things from parents, school teachers, and ministers. This person will need to learn to be open and transparent, or the time will come they will be hiding things from their companion. Hiding results in a double life and leads to more bondage and broken relationships. People who have closed doors in some corners of their life will be possessive of their phones and not be willing to share their password with a trusted partner. It seems we easily forget the truth about God and how futile it is to hide from Him. Hebrews 4:13 says, Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom “we will give account to.” How can we be so naive and foolish to think we can hide anything from God? Or take it a step further: 'why would we want to hide something from Him'? God loves us too much to let us go on in a life of hiding evil. Numbers 32:23 is still very true, saying, Be sure your sin will find you out. And you can be sure of it. God loves you too much to let you keep hiding what needs to be brought out and forgiven. This message is hope to all who are tired of hiding and running.
Sexual sins are also extremely deceptive. It usually happens similar to the way James described it in chapter one; we are enticed… drawn away… pulled like a magnet off-center… feel a surge of desire… make sure no one is looking and our tracks are covered… step closer to the forbidden… feel more desire… begin very quickly to lose reasoning and sound thinking… not able to calculate consequences much like an intoxicated person… then James 1:15 happens: “then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is finished (full-grown), brings forth death.” Verse 16 says, Don't be deceived my beloved brethren.
I think James would tell us not to follow our lusts for what isn't ours to have, not even a hint. The Bible tells us three things we should flee from. One of these is fornication which can be broadened to all sexual sins. Don't dabble with it; don't take the second look; get away from it. Replace those thoughts with upbuilding thoughts of God and His way. Start singing an old hymn; thankfully we can't think of two things at once. By all means, flee from that base desire that will take you farther than you want to go and cost more than you want to pay. Run the tape to the end, and if you follow what you are being tempted for, will you have what you want? Satan always promises pleasure, but he always delivers pain. Remember Satan has never invented a pleasure; he only takes what God made to be pure and good, perverts it and offers it back in its perverted form. Remember, his sword is drawn to kill at this point. Flee evil desires!
Don't follow your lust, not even a hint. Pornography is so addictive and has ensnared many a person. Promise Keepers said 65% of men in their survey were addicted. It's very similar to alcohol or drugs, and so soon, an addiction is formed. They tell us that the brain is calling for endorphins to be poured into it, whether from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or porn. I emphasize again that the men and women who make it to victory will be those who, like Daniel of old, purpose in their hearts not to defile themselves.
This subject is for our sisters as well, and a few questions seem appropriate. What inside your life is tucked neatly away and hidden? Have life's disappointments caused an emptiness that taking an 'emotional Tylenol' makes you feel better for a short while? Is your emotional connection secured where God has planned it to be?
Young girls should be taught the need to develop a healthy reserve with men, not a nose in the air with never a smile, but not too free in relating to young men. Our society is geared exactly opposite of this, and from kindergarten on, boys and girls are being teased of special friendships. As a result, children grow up with little to no reserve. Socializing in messaging between genders should be avoided by all outside of family relationships. This will develop a habit in youth that will one day need to be broken if they expect to live an open, transparent life with a spouse. Think of it this way: would you want your spouse to socialize with the opposite gender on social media?
Sisters, be careful of the books you read. The romance novels will deaden the desire for the Word of God and give unrealistic expectations of married life. These books will give the idea that the right man somewhere would be your key to fulfillment and happiness in life. Only Jesus can fill the hole that sin has brought to every human being today. No man, woman, young man, or young woman will ever be able to give the security and tranquility of the soul that we all want so badly. This hurt in the heart will never be quenched by Band-Aids or pain relievers. They help only for a moment, and when they wear off, the cry of the heart is even louder. Unwholesome books will deaden a taste for the things of God, and in its place, a craving for junk food and pain relievers will grow.
Another concern to the sisters is the amount of time you spend online. There is no end to feeding the craving for finery, uniqueness, charm, and beauty. Don't let these things be the drive of your life as they will never cry out 'enough' and will do nothing for the satisfying of your soul or point your children in the right direction. Consider the amount of time hosting parties of whatever name brand they are. Over the years, I have seen names come and go of business opportunities and products that one must-have. But alas, in a few years, we cannot remember even those names, and all the while, the children were growing and by now are adults. Consider the real needs in your life and your responsibilities, and then decide which will bring eternal investments. Women with children need to limit hobbies they so much enjoy because at this moment, you are blessed with children who have never-dying souls, and time with them is an eternal investment. Remember your husband's needs, home, and children are far more worthy of your time than hosting another party and spending hours there.
So how can we all go from here and live a morally pure life, where the outside and inside are both clean?
Be Humble. James 5 says, Confess your faults one to another that ye may be healed. It takes humility and brokenness to acknowledge our needs, but brokenness is the key to victory. I Peter 5:5 tells us that God gives grace to the humble. One of the most comprehensive definitions of grace is unmerited divine assistance given to humans for regeneration and sanctification. Regeneration is 'redeeming grace,' and sanctification is 'transforming grace.' The truth of this is that God gives 'transforming grace' to the humble. This grace changes us from the inside out, making us into His Holiness and love. This aspect of grace must be desired and sought after as much as redeeming grace was when God saved us. This is probably the single most important step in overcoming addictions of any kind. Be humble enough to make it a daily prayer to God for His transforming grace. Jesus taught in Matthew 23:26, where He said, "First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may be clean also."
Be Honest. Examine your thoughts, actions, temptations, the things you struggle with, anger, lust, pride, bitterness, etc. Are you as spiritual as you portray yourself to be on the outside? Strip the veneer, and admit the need for help.
Be transparent. Romans 2:16 tells of the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. We are so foolish to think we can hide evil. We can for a while, but our actions will stand naked before an all-knowing God someday. Why would we try to hide something now? Again, this is a message of hope. Those hidden things can be sent before to judgment, and a guilt-free life can be a reality today. Be transparent; it must be a working goal.
Tell yourself the truth. When you are tempted, run the tape to the end. If you follow your lust and get what you are craving, will you get what you want? Will this craving be satisfied, or will it only crave for more evil? Tell yourself the truth. If you saw your brother doing what you are going after, how would it look? How will it look thirty years down the road if you follow your evil desire? Will it bring joy or sorrow then? Will it be a help to someone then, or will someone else be scarred? Tell yourself the truth before you become intoxicated and unable to make rational judgments.
Teach your eyes to bounce. You can't help what you look at the first time, but you can control what you look at twice. Make it a practice till it becomes a habit to turn your eyes in a different direction whenever you see a sight that leads to impure thoughts. It works.
Teaching our children. This should be heavy on our hearts from early childhood. If we don’t teach our children that God made us in the image of Himself, which needs to be kept pure, someone else will teach them to be secretive and make them feel impure. The book “God, our Children and the Facts of Life” is a good starter for parents with young children. Stay close to the children as they grow and teach them as they mature.
Keep your emotional ties in the proper place. The more this is in place, the safer you will be in keeping pure in a corrupt society, and the farther you get from this, the more vulnerable you will be to corruption. Keep your spouse the one you are tied to emotionally above all others, the one you run to first to share with, the first in your life.
The Bible tells us to flee lust and fornication. Run from it. Get away from it and stop feeding it. These cravings are addictions that must be broken. They must not be fed. Remember, what you feed grows, and what you starve dies. These addictions can be broken, but it will take feeding the relationships that God has given and starving all hurtful ones.
God has made us in a way that when we love the things He loves, our heart still has room to love more. No matter how many children and grandchildren we have or how many godly friends we have over the world, our hearts still have room to love more people. But the moment we start to love what God has forbidden, it begins to replace and destroy all other love, filling the heart with emptiness, pain, and loneliness, and leads to a bitter end.
Many a man has come to his senses and seen the utter foolishness of the path he took. Many men tried long and hard to hide impure conduct and were successful until late in life, and some even kept it hidden till after they were gone. I ask one simple question for you to ponder in the quietness of this moment and when your mind is clear of any intoxication. Is it worth it? Of course, the answer is a resounding NO! Oh, how wonderful to live an open life free of guilt and to have peace with God and the assurance of sins forgiven, so that one day we will be taken out of this present evil world and be ushered into the very presence of our Holy God.
I will close with two quotes to help us fight for moral purity. The first one is from my Dad and the second by Dan Allender.
Two forces lie within my breast,
The one I love, the one I hate.
But the one I feed will dominate.
Honestly I name
What is true about myself,
I need to hide and defend
and posture and pretend